Nineteen drug raids – 16 of them in Peterborough – resulted in cannabis plants worth more than £3 million seized by police.
Throughout June, police located and searched 19 suspected cannabis grows in places including, Chatteris, Ramsey and St Neots, seizing 3,555 cannabis plants as well as more than £30,000 in cash and £100,000 worth of growing equipment.
An imitation firearm was also recovered and one vulnerable adult safeguarded and referred through the National Referral Mechanism.
The raids were part of a national crackdown against organised crime groups.
The warrants took place in:
Lincoln Road, Peterborough
Northfield Road, Peterborough
Park Road, Peterborough
Bourges Boulevard, Peterborough
Taverners Road, Peterborough
Farriers Court, Peterborough
Hallfields Lane, Peterborough
Bath Road, Peterborough
Vicarage Farm Road, Peterborough
Fulbridge Road, Peterborough
Middle Drove, Ramsey
Shrewsbury Court, Peterborough
King Road, St Neots
Curf Farm, Chatteris
A 33-year-old man from St Neots was arrested on suspicion of production of cannabis and possession of an offensive weapon. He has been bailed until 25 September.
A 43-year-old man from Peterborough was arrested on suspicion of being concerned in the supply of drugs and production of cannabis. He has been bailed until 27 September.
A 23-year-old man from Peterborough was arrested on suspicion of production of cannabis. He has been bailed until 26 September.
A 47-year-old man from Chatteris was arrested on suspicion of production of cannabis. He has been released under investigation.
A 49-year-old man from Peterborough was arrested on suspicion of production of cannabis. He has been bailed.
— John Elworthy (@johnelworthy) July 6, 2023
Mariglen Ismalaj, 21, of Fulbridge Road, Peterborough, has been charged with criminal damage, possession of an offensive weapon in a private place and production of cannabis. He is due to stand trial on 19 July.
Aldris Mizutavzius, 37, of Hallfields Lane, Peterborough, has been charged with being concerned in the production of cannabis and possess/control identity documents with intent. He is due to stand trial on 4 September.
Mark Paplekaj, 31, of Cathwaite, Peterborough, has been charged with production of cannabis. He pleaded guilty at court and is due to be sentenced on 17 July.
Dod Ndreu, 36, of Park Road, Peterborough, has been charged with production of cannabis. He is due to appear in court on 7 July.
In Cambridgeshire, the operation was led by Detective Superintendent Ian Middleton and his team.
He said: “The costs to society from these criminal enterprises are far reaching. Fuelling serious violence and acquisitive crime.
“With the help of local residents, we will tackle and dismantle them and make clear to criminal groups that our county is a hostile environment for them in which their trade is not welcome and will not be tolerated.
“Criminals are making millions from the exploitation of those who they traffic to act as gardeners and guards for these sites, which are invariably hazardous and powered by illegally diverted electricity.
“The work is risky and unpleasant for our personnel, but we are committed to removing this threat from our communities and this effort will continue.”
Four men aged 21, 31, 36 and 37 from Peterborough, were arrested and have since been charged with offences including production of cannabis, criminal damage, possess/control identity documents with intent and possession of an offensive weapon in a private place.
Five further men were arrested for offences including production of cannabis and possession of an offensive weapon.
They have been bailed and released under investigation while investigations continue.
Operation Mille was the largest national operation of its kind and saw police across England and Wales co-ordinate more than a thousand search warrants, aimed at unearthing and disrupting organised crime groups (OCGs) and their illegal revenue streams.
“Criminal networks involved in drug dealing, immigration and money laundering were targeted by police and partner agencies, who focussed resources to tackling large-scale cannabis cultivations,” said a police spokesperson.
“The links between serious crime and those involved in cannabis cultivation are clear, with the drugs trade fuelling gang violence as groups compete for territory and look to hunt out their opposition.”
The spokesperson added: “Cannabis factories also present a very real local threat.
“The size of criminal cannabis ‘factories’ means that damage is often caused to the properties themselves; the buildings can become dangerous as a result of fire risks, unlawful abstraction of electricity, fumes and water damage.”
Anyone with information about a potential cannabis factory or drug dealing can contact police online www.cambs.police.uk/report or call 101.
People can also contact Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111.
There are some key signs to spot a property that could be being used as a cannabis factory:
- Frequent visitors to a property at unsocial hours throughout the day and night
- Blacked out windows or condensation on the windows, even when it is not cold outside
- Bright lights in rooms throughout the night
- Electricity meters being tampered with/altered and new cabling, sometimes leading to street lighting. High electricity bills can also be an indicator
- A powerful, distinctive, sweet, sickly aroma and noise from fans
- Lots of work or deliveries of equipment to an address, particularly those associated with growing plants indoors without soil such as heaters and lighting
- An excessive amount of plant pots, chemicals, fertilisers, and compost
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