Two people found hiding in a cannabis factory in Southampton, have been treated like slaves and forced to live in terrible conditions, according to the police.
Nearly 2,000 cannabis plants with a street value of almost £4million have been found in two empty buildings in Southampton city centre - one a former snooker hall.
Two men in their twenties were arrested inside the buildings but are now being treated as potential victims and are being supported by specially trained officers.
Detective Sergeant Will Whale
1,782 cannabis plants were estimated to have been found, including fully grown plants and saplings. There were also empty pots indicating a previous crop which had already been harvested.
The plants were discovered within two disused commercial properties, one on High Street, the other on Castle Way on Wednesday, 3 February.
Police believe they are both are connected and enquiries are ongoing.
Chief Inspector Ricky Dhanda said: “We know that a lot people will think, it’s just cannabis, but we want to stress that any production of drugs is linked to hidden harm.
"Large scale operations like this are often run by organised crime gang. Those gangs are likely to engage in very serious violence involving weapons, such as firearms.
"They may also take advantage of vulnerable people, exploiting them or making them work in servitude."