Norfolk

Norfolk cannabis farm: Seven people in police custody

Cannabis plants
Image caption Police found a 'highly organised and sophisticated' cannabis operation

Seven people are in police custody after the discovery of a cannabis farm in Norfolk, described by officers as one of the largest they had dealt with.

Police found a "highly organised and sophisticated operation" at Gibbet Site pig farm at Bradenham, near Dereham.

They also found 200 sacks of raw tobacco and a "crude" shredding machine to produce hand-rolling tobacco.

Police said the tobacco seized was worth more than £1m but have not yet put a value on the cannabis.

Armed officers, a police helicopter and dog unit were called to the farm on Hale Road at 20:40 GMT on Sunday after police were told of an injured person and criminal activity at the site.

Police searched but found no injured person and were satisfied that this claim was a hoax.

However, they found a cannabis production operation spanning 20 rooms.

Seven people have been arrested on suspicion of cultivation of cannabis.

A 30-year-old man was arrested on Sunday night and the following morning a second man, 47, was arrested as he attended the site.

Two men and a woman were also discovered in one of the sheds at about 13:00 GMT on Monday and arrested.

The men, aged 20 and 31, and the woman, 45, are all believed to be foreign nationals.

Two more men, aged 34 and 37, were arrested on Monday evening.

Image caption Armed police were called to the farm on Sunday and remain on guard at the scene

All seven remain in custody at Wymondham Police Investigation Centre, where they await further questioning.

Ch Insp Ady Porter said: "The farm is in an isolated location and the cannabis factory was discovered in one of many outbuildings on the site, with 20 separate rooms given over to cannabis production.

"Every room was set up for production from seedlings to mature plants with extensive hydroponic equipment.

"In our view this is a highly organised and sophisticated operation and one of the most significant in recent times."

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) is continuing to investigate following the seizure of four tonnes of tobacco.

Paul Barton from HMRC said: "Attempts to import, distribute and sell tobacco goods on which UK duty have not been paid are treated extremely seriously by HMRC, and we will relentlessly pursue any individuals or crime gangs believed to be involved."

Officers from the RSPCA and Norfolk County Council trading standards also attended the site as a precautionary measure to protect livestock.

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