Ten arrested during raids in Barking, Canning Town and Mile End as police target gangs forcing ‘vulnerable’ people to farm cannabis
PUBLISHED: 17:00 15 July 2020
The police arrested 10 people in a series of raids across London and Essex targeting organised gangs forcing “vulnerable” people to farm cannabis.
Officers from Essex Police’s modern slavery and human trafficking unit raided a unit in River Road, Barking and searched properties in Caspian Walk, Canning Town and Duckett Street, Mile End today (July 15).
Further raids were carried out in Clacton and Canvey.
An Essex Police spokesperson said: “A total of five victims have been safeguarded as a result of the investigation.”
Police discovered between 400 and 500 cannabis plants in stages from saplings to fully mature plants at the unit in River Road.
Officers recovered Class A drugs, two Tasers and three CS gas canisters from open plan offices in the building.
At an address in Melbourne Road, Clacton, officers found a cannabis farm spread across three bedrooms in the upper floor of a house.
Police say more than 100 plants were recovered with a street value amounting to a four-figure sum.
The 10 arrested remain in custody on suspicion of various offences.
They include a 33-year-old man from Clacton and a 36-year-old man from Canning Town who were arrested on suspicion of committing a modern slavery offence, arranging or facilitating the travel of another person with a view to exploit, being concerned in the supply of a controlled drug, cultivation of cannabis and extracting electricity.
Two Canvey men, aged 37 and 41, were arrested on suspicion of the same offences, except being concerned in the supply of a controlled drug.
They were instead arrested on suspicion of being involved in a conspiracy to supply a controlled drug.
Two women, aged 19 and 63, were arrested on suspicion of committing a modern slavery offence, human trafficking and being concerned in the supply of cannabis while a boy, 16, and a man, 42, were arrested on suspicion of the same offences. The four were arrested in the Canning Town and Mile End searches.
Two men from Stapleford Abbotts, aged 32 and 56, were arrested on suspicion of possession of firearms offences. The 32-year-old was arrested on suspicion of possession of Class A drugs, and the 56-year-old on suspicion of possession with intent to supply Class A drugs.
Charity Justice & Care is working with Essex Police to safeguard victims of modern slavery.
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