A cannabis cultivation in Headcorn with more than 1,000 plants

A national crackdown on organised crime linked to the sale of cannabis resulted in more than 40 arrests and around £3.5 million worth of plants seized in Kent.

Officers carried out 30 warrants and seized more than 7,000 plants across the county in June 2023 as part of Operation Mille, which aims to dismantle the criminal networks behind large-scale cannabis cultivations that are often involved in more serious offending such as modern slavery, street violence and the exploitation of the young and vulnerable.

Among the warrants carried out:

• A disused commercial property in Ramsgate was found to contain more than 1,000 cannabis plants on Thursday 1 June. Three men were arrested and charged with producing a class B drug.

• A barn near Headcorn was searched on Monday 12 June and more than 1,000 plants were seized. Three men have since been charged with being concerned in the production of cannabis.

• Around 500 plants were seized from a property in the village of Bridge, near Canterbury, on Thursday 1 June and two men were arrested on suspicion of cultivating cannabis. They have since been bailed pending further enquiries.

• On Wednesday 21 June officers located a cannabis cultivation at a property in the Sittingbourne area, having previously stopped a car on the M25 and arrested the driver and his passenger on suspicion of drug supply offences. A shotgun and a crossbow were also seized from the address.


The enforcement activity conducted under Operation Mille has caused significant disruption to criminal networks across the UK, by removing streams of illicit income and drawing attention to the many other ways in which those involved pose a risk to members of the public.

Intelligence gathered will also help Kent Police, neighbouring forces and other partners better understand how such criminals operate.

Detective Chief Superintendent Lucy Morris, Deputy Head of the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, said: ‘Organised crime drives much of the violence, exploitation and anti-social behaviour that blights communities the length and breadth of the UK.

‘The cultivation of cannabis on an industrial scale is not a victimless crime. It fuels other criminal activity including the importation of class A drugs, human trafficking and child exploitation, and it is therefore vital that we target those at the top end of these networks to stop the cycle of criminality and bring those responsible to justice.’


In addition to the wider criminality linked to cannabis cultivations, the manner in which they are set up also poses a risk to the people tasked with looking after the plants – many of whom are often young and vulnerable – as well as to neighbouring properties that may have electricity stolen from them or suffer fire or water damage.

DCS Morris said: ‘In many cases neighbours, landlords and their agents are the first to notice when things are not as they should be, for example if there is a pungent smell coming from the property, the windows are constantly covered or if there are lots of visitors at all hours of the day and night.’Sharing information with the police at an early stage allows us to work closely together to tackle cannabis farms before they cause serious damage.’

By Ed

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