Cannabis worth almost £90 million seized across the West Midlands last year

Cannabis worth almost £90 million was seized by police across the West Midlands last year as part of a crackdown on drugs gangs.

Cannabis plants have been seized by West Midlands Police. Photo: West Midlands Police
Cannabis plants have been seized by West Midlands Police. Photo: West Midlands Police

The force's Cannabis Disposal Team (CDT) recovered the plants and harvested leaves worth a street value of £86,697,000 in the region.

It saw the team close down 398 large cannabis farms – including one large-scale set-up suspected of being run by organised crime gangs.

The CDT dismantled the hydroponics set-up and electricity supply at the site which had been bypassed to power lamps and ventilation.

The team is only called to clear large factories – with smaller cannabis grows falling outside their remit and handled by neighbourhood police teams.

CDT Manager Mike Hall said: “Most of the cannabis farms we deal with are being used to fund organised crime gangs.

"We often find weapons, machetes and sometimes guns, and people found at the properties are often trafficked here illegally and are being exploited.

"Our team are specially trained to clear these drugs factories as they can be very hazardous environments. Offenders tend to steal electricity by tampering with the mains supply and the dodgy wiring is a real fire risk. Several have gone up in flames.

"Anyone who claims ‘it’s just a bit of weed, haven’t police got better things to do’ is being very naïve. These are criminal enterprises run by serious crime groups."

Tell-tale signs

The biggest cannabis farm cleared by the CDT was at a storage unit in Foleshill Road, Coventry, on July 20 when drugs worth £3.6 million were recovered.

A £2.6 million haul was recovered from Haliburton House in Hall Street South, West Bromwich, a week earlier with £1,996,000 worth of cannabis seized from a property in Icknield Street, Soho, in March.

The team's successes are prompted by information passed to West Midlands Police by concerned members of the public – with anyone with suspicions about a property urged to get in touch.

He added: "There are lots of tell-tale signs that a property is being used to grow cannabis, not least the sweet, leafy odour of the drug itself.

"Others would be a constant low humming noise from ventilation, windows blacked out or curtains drawn all day, large ducting tubes coming from the property, powerful lights on at night, and people visiting regularly for just a short period.

"We always take information from the public seriously and will act on it where appropriate to take crime and protect the public."

Information can be passed to the force via Live Chat on the website or by calling us on 101.

Alternatively call the charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.

Sorry, we are not accepting comments on this article.

Top Stories

More from the Express & Star

UK & International News