The UK has spent £2.5 billion since 2015 keeping up to 8,000 people locked up for cannabis charges. Plenty more has been spent by the police enforcing cannabis laws.
It’s highly debatable just how much impact this has had on an underground cannabis market that’s continued to flourish throughout the last decade, however. As you probably know, cannabis isn’t hard to get and is widely consumed all over the UK – and most of the world, for that matter.
One consequence of the UK’s war against cannabis has been the need for growers to be more creative, discreet and ambitious than ever.
Here are 7 the biggest and best illegal cannabis farms that were discovered by police in 2019.
1. Biggest Ever
In October, police revealed what they labelled the country’s “biggest ever conspiracy” – 351 kilos of cocaine, 92 kilos of heroin, 250 kilos of cannabis and, weirdly, 1,850 kilos of hemp hidden on a vegetable delivery lorry travelling from the Netherlands.
The total street value was £38 million and 19 people have been arrested in the UK and Netherlands.
2. Secret tunnel
In one of the most intriguing busts of the year, police stumbled upon a secret tunnel leading to a reported £40 million underground cannabis farm in the basement of an old theatre in Deptford, south-east London..
The 70ft tunnel was found by chance when police were called to a residential house following a reported break-in. It led from the bathroom of the house, under a car park, and into the abandoned basement.
3. Tesco delivery
During the summer, an enormous cannabis farm hidden that even had its own fleet of Tesco-style delivery vans was discovered outside Scunthorpe.
It is believed the factory on the Foxhills Industrial Estate helped supply a vast network of cannabis dealers across not just the town but Grimsby, Doncaster and large parts of Lincolnshire.
4. God’s house
A man in Liverpool was arrested following the discovery of a cannabis farm inside an abandoned church in July.
Police also found a white Ford transit van full of growing equipment parked outside the Manor Church Centre in Wallasey.
5. Compost giveaway
A barn in the sleepy village of Kingsclere, Hampshire, was home to a massive cannabis farm thought to be producing an annual turnover of £6 million.
The operation was discovered after huge quantities of compost were seen being delivered.
6. Pizza and weed
In June, police found d a four-floor cannabis farm at an old pizzeria in Runcorn, near Liverpool.
The illicit plants were so pungent that the distinct smell of cannabis had been noticeable for a long time, according to locals.
7. Lancashire’s ‘biggest-ever’
A police raid in October uncovered Lancashire’s ‘biggest-ever’ cannabis farm. Found were between 8,000 to 10,000 cannabis plants at various stages of growth.
Three men were arrested after the raid on the industrial unit, where police officers also discovered large amounts of electrical equipment, beds and sleeping bags for those looking after the plants.