POLICE have seized more than 400 cannabis plants after executing a raid of a Maldon house which was being used as a drugs factory.

The search, which took place at 11am on Tuesday morning, was undertaken by Essex Police’s Maldon Town Team, the Maldon and Chelmsford community policing team, and the force’s dog section as police uncovered hundreds of plants in St Lawrence.

Several rooms had been converted to grow the plants, with heat lamps, blackout blinds and ventilation equipment installed, and although nobody was at the house, police said it appeared to have been recently lived in.

Residents had previously reported suspicious activity and a smell of cannabis to the authorities, and Essex Police received permission to raid the St Lawrence property after obtaining what is known as a search warrant under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984.

Sergeant Matt Dalby of Essex Police’s Maldon Town Team said the discovery was proof that drug offences will not be tolerated.

Maldon and Burnham Standard: Raid – Essex Police searched the property on Tuesday morningRaid – Essex Police searched the property on Tuesday morning (Image: Essex Police)

He said: “This is an excellent result as the property contained a significant number of plants.

“Drugs ruin lives and damage communities and the team will continue to target those who are profiting from this illegal trade.

“We are sending out a very clear message to drug dealers – it will not be tolerated.”

Sgt Dalby added that the underground drug industry is a small part of a huge network which exploits the most deprived members of society.

He continued: “The production of cannabis feeds into a bigger network of criminality and exploitation linked to illegal immigration and forced labour, with people often put to work and made to live in terrible conditions.

“Stopping the criminals behind the growth and sale of cannabis is vital in tackling violent crime and helps keep local communities safe.”

Members of the public should get in touch with the police if they suspect someone is growing cannabis, Sgt Dalby added.

“Community intelligence is extremely important to us.

“If any members of the public suspect someone is growing cannabis or there is crime and drug dealing taking place, report it to us. If you tell us, we will act.”