Police bust Bedfordshire’s 100th cannabis farm since lockdown in Shefford

A cannabis farm in Shefford has been dismantled by Bedfordshire Police – making it the hundredth farm the force has discovered since the beginning of the coronavirus lockdown.

The factory was discovered in a commercial building in an industrial estate and officers executed a warrant at the address on Monday.

Seven separate units were found to be modified to accommodate large scale cannabis cultivation. The number of cannabis factories discovered by the force this year is up by more than 50 per cent compared to the same period last year.

The building was insulated and fitted with extraction systems to avoid detection from things like heat detection technology.

Police also discovered weapons, including a starter pistol, while there were also signs that people had been living and working at the farm.

Cannabis is, by weight, the most seized drug in the county.

Det Ch Insp Louisa Glynn, from the force’s intelligence unit, said: “This location was used for growing cannabis on an industrial scale. The property had been adapted in a ‘professional’ manner to avoid detection by law enforcement.

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“The people behind these operations are out to do one thing – make money. And they don’t care who they exploit or take advantage of in order to make this money.

“Cannabis production can fuel organised immigration crime, with people being trafficked into the country to work on these farm. We are also seeing an increasing trend of children, some not even in their teens yet, being groomed and coerced into selling cannabis on behalf of these gangs.

“These criminals are operating on a simple supply and demand basis. They use cannabis as an easy source of income to fuel their criminal enterprises – and we won’t stand for it.”

There are some key signs that a property is being used to cultivate drugs: A powerful distinctive sweet, sickly aroma, frequent visitors throughout the day and night, blacked out windows, birds gathering on the roof, particularly in cold weather, high levels of condensation on windows and noise from fans.

If you suspect that a property in your neighbourhood is used to grow cannabis you can report your concerns by visiting the force’s online reporting centre or by calling 101.

You can also call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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