MORE than 900 cannabis plants have been seized in St Helens in the last month as part of a regional police operation targeted at sniffing out cannabis farms.
Officers from the North West Regional Organised Crime Unit (Titan), alongside local police, executed 18 warrants across the borough as part of a month-long operation launched on March 5.
They uncovered six cannabis farms locally - consisting of a combined total of 946 cannabis plants - and made 38 arrests.
In neighbouring Knowsley, police teams executed seven warrants, uncovered 10 cannabis farms and made 21 arrests.
Across the whole of Merseyside, 147 people have been arrested on suspicion of involvement in cannabis cultivation in the last month.
Officers have dismantled 130 cannabis farms and seized 5,520 cannabis plants with an estimated street value of more than £2,750,000 as well as confiscating £48,600 in cash.
Superintendent Mark Harrison, who led Operation Broadley on behalf of Merseyside Police, said: “We have made significant seizures of cannabis and a high number of arrests that has resulted in a decrease in gang tensions and firearms incidents.
“People in Merseyside are our eyes and ears and we urge them to tell us about any suspected cannabis farms in their area.
“There is a strong and distinctive smell to cannabis and I would urge any members of the public to contact us if they suspect it may be growing somewhere so we can help rid our communitues of this danger.
“People who grow cannabis often have a total disregard for the safety of others - frequently endangering the lives of those in neighbouring properties by tampering with electricity supplies and leaving live electrical cables exposed.
“This increases the risk of fire.”
Detective Superintendent John Lyons, from Titan, added: “Cannabis is not the harmless drug it is often perceived to be.
“An increasing number of people who grow cannabis are directly funding dangerous, organised criminal gangs. These gangs are often responsible for gun crime, violence and intimidation across the North West.
“We hope this operation sends out a strong message to anyone thinking of becoming involved in cannabis cultivation - whether that be from letting a room in your property be used for cannabis growth or to those higher up the chain.”
Anyone with any information about cannabis cultivation should contact Crimestoppers, in confidence, on 0800 555 111.