Seven arrested over large drug find

26 November 2013

Seven people remain in custody following the discovery of one of
the largest cannabis farms Norfolk Constabulary has dealt with in
recent history.

Officers responding to a report of an injured person and
criminal activity at Gibbett Site Pig Farm on Hale Road in
Bradenham found the “highly organised and sophisticated operation
at 8:40pm on Sunday evening (24 November 2013) after armed officers
were deployed to the scene, along with a helicopter and police dog
unit, supported by local police units.

During searches that evening, a cannabis production operation
was located within a building at the site and a 30 year old man
arrested at the scene on suspicion of cultivation of cannabis.

No injured people were located and officers were satisfied,
after extensive searches, that this part of the reports was a
hoax.

“In our view this is a highly organised and sophisticate operation and one of the most significant in recent times.”

Chief Insp Ady Porter

During the police
searches a second building housing approximately 200 large sacks of
raw tobacco and a crude shredding machine to produce hand rolling
tobacco was discovered. It is estimated that the combined total of
products seized is over 1 million.

Early yesterday morning, a second man, 47, was arrested on
suspicion of cultivation of cannabis as he attended the site.

Three people were also discovered in one of the sheds at around
1pm. The two men aged 20 and 31 and one woman aged 45, believed to
be foreign nationals, were also arrested on suspicion of
cultivation of cannabis.

As a result of initial police enquiries a further two people
were arrested yesterday evening.

Both men, one aged 34 and one aged
37, were also arrested on suspicion of cultivation of cannabis.

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

A police cordon remains as further enquiries take place.

Chief Inspector Ady Porter, Breckland Commander, discussed the
discovery further saying: “Information received by police led to a
significant police response in order to maximise the safety of all
concerned.

“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 sophisticate operation and one of the most
significant in recent times.

Investigations by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) into the seizure
of hand rolling tobacco are ongoing. Paul Barton from HMRC said:
“The quantity of un-regulated tobacco and the associated crude
manufacturing equipment found at this site should send out a clear
warning that if you buy cheap tobacco that looks too good to be
true it probably is.

Criminals who operate under these conditions
do not care what goes into the product or who they sell to,
including children; they are only out to make a profit for
themselves.

“Our activity sends a clear message to those involved in this
type of criminality.

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 Trading Standards also attended the
site as a precautionary measure to protect the welfare of
stock.

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