Potential victims of modern slavery safeguarded in Middlesbrough cannabis farm seizures

Credit Cleveland Police
A farm was located on Lorne Street in the city, and another was found shortly after on Greta Street. Credit: Cleveland Police

Two suspected victims of modern slavery have been safeguarded and cannabis farms believed to be worth over £360,000 have been seized in Middlesbrough.

The seizures took place on Thursday 11 January.

Cleveland Police were alerted by Middlesbrough Council officers of a suspicious smell, which police identified to a location in an industrial unit on Lorne Street.

A cannabis farm with 212 plants with an estimated value of £178,000 was found at the property.

A male in his thirties, who is being treated as a victim of modern slavery, was located inside the premises and was safeguarded. He has been taken to hospital to be checked over.

Shortly after, a second cannabis farm was located at another industrial unit on Greta Street.

Officers forced entry and found a second male inside, aged in his forties. He is also being treated as a victim and is being safeguarded and supported by officers.

Within the property at Greta Street there were 225 plants with an estimated value of £189,000.

There were 225 plants in the cannabis farm at Greta Street. Credit: Cleveland Police

The immediate safeguarding of the potential victims of modern day slavery and ongoing investigation into those responsible is being carried out by specialist officers in the Complex Exploitation Team at Cleveland Police.

Sergeant John Sproson from Cleveland Police said: “This highlights the impact that cannabis cultivation has in relation to modern day slavery and the funding of organised crime.“Those who do take advantage of others for organised criminality can expect to be brought to justice.“We would continue to urge anyone with information or suspicions regarding drug activity in their area, to contact Cleveland Police or Crimestoppers.”

Councillor Janet Thompson, Middlesbrough Council’s Executive member for Community Safety, added: “This is another great example of our officers on the ground working in partnership with police counterparts to root out crime and antisocial behaviour and protect the vulnerable. 

“Modern day slavery is inextricably linked to organised crime and the drugs trade, and neither have any place in our communities.”

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