CANNABIS with a street value of £50 million has been seized by the PSNI over recent months, it has been confirmed.
The astonishing statistic was revealed by Security Minister Paul Goggins during questions in Parliament on Wednesday.
As an integral part of the practice, organised gangs of a south-east Asian origin, are entering Northern Ireland and paying landlords in advance before converting much of the property – gutting it out in the process – into specialised ‘grow rooms’.
Such cannabis factories are prevalent in towns and villages throughout Northern Ireland.
Responding to a question by SDLP MP Eddie McGrady, Mr Goggins insisted police were making inroads in dealing with the illegal growing of te drug.
“There has been considerable success in recent months in the closing down of 77 cannabis factories in Northern Ireland,” he said.
“Much of this cannabis, of course, was not for consumption in Northern Ireland but for export elsewhere. There have 71 arrests and £50 million worth of the drug has been seized.”
Mr Goggins insisted the police radar must now be aimed at the organised gangs bringing the drugs into Ulster neighbourhoods.