POLICE have uncovered a huge cannabis factory in Nelson believed to have been used by an organised criminal gang to manufacture the drug in industrial quantities.

Officers executed a Misuse of Drugs Act warrant at the mill premises on Maurice Street yesterday morning where they found the sophisticated set up containing more than 1,000 plants.

The plants were in numerous rooms and in different stages of growth. The estimated street value of the drugs is around £570,000.

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The cannabis factory was so sophisticated that vinegar and fabric conditioner had even been used in the venting system to try to mask the smell of the cannabis.

There was nobody located on the premises, but there was evidence to suggest people have been living on site relatively recently and efforts are on-going to trace them and those who orchestrated the set-up.

Detective Inspector Vinny De Curtis, of East CID, said: “The actions of officers yesterday took a large amount of planning and teamwork, and I am very pleased that it has been so successful.

"This was a huge and extremely sophisticated set-up and I am delighted that we have been able to take such a large amount of illicit drugs off the streets of Lancashire before they are able to reach vulnerable people within our communities.

“We will continue to tackle the production and supply of illegal drugs but we need the help of our communities and I would encourage anyone who has anyone information to come forward and contact police so that we can take action.”

Anyone with information should contact police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.