A cannabis farm thought to have an annual yield of more than £200,000 has been discovered at a property in St Helens.
Police officers found the cannabis plants when they raided the property on Boundary Road at around 10am today with a warrant under the Misuse Of Drugs Act.
A number of rooms had been adapted for the growing of cannabis, with more than 50 plants growing, along with equipment.
The electricity was also found to have been illegally bypassed.
The scene was cordoned off to enable officers from Merseyside Police to recover the cannabis and forensically examine the scene.
Insp Neil Birkett said: "The cannabis found would have an estimated annual yield of around £200,000. A large number of the plants were very mature and would have been cropped and likely been sold on the streets very soon had police not executed this warrant. Thankfully officers have taken action and prevented criminals from making any further financial gain from this property.
"Cannabis cultivation by criminal gangs can cause serious harm in our communities. Criminal groups involved in the cultivation of cannabis are usually involved in other serious organised crime and they often rent industrial properties such as this.
"The growing of cannabis also brings dangers to neighbouring properties because cannabis farms are a serious fire risk. The people who set up these farms often tamper with the electricity meters to steal electricity, and there will generally be a number of hot lamps hooked to overloaded electricity sockets as well as an extensive watering system.
"The electricity company had to go to significant lengths to make the electricity supply safe, removing parts of the brickwork and pavement outside the property.
"Electricity and water are never a good combination, and the fire service have seen an increase in the number of fires they have been called to as a result of fires caused by the crude systems put in place by the people who set up these farms.
"Our communities can help us stop these groups, who are only interested in making money, from turning houses and flats into potential death traps. Nobody wants to live next door to these houses and we would ask that if you believe someone is using a property for this purpose, please tell us so we can take positive action and find those responsible for setting them up."
Some of the signs that cannabis is being grown are: strange smells and sounds; frequent and varied visitors to a property, often at unusual times; gardening equipment being taken into a property, such as plant pots, fertiliser, fans and industrial lighting; windows are sealed and covered or the curtains are permanently closed; heat from an adjoining property; and birds gathering on a roof in cold weather.
Anyone with any information is asked to call police on 101, or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.