Two suspected drug-dealers have been charged after an innovative operation shut down a cannabis farm worth around £57,000.
This week, officers from Northumbria Police’s Neighbourhood Policing Team (NPT) joined forces with Environmental Health at Gateshead council to carry out activity as part of Operation Vienna – a unique initiative aimed at tackling ASB, disorder and organised crime in Gateshead.
On Monday officers deployed a taskforce to a property on Bensham Avenue after receiving information about suspicious behaviour and possible criminal activity. Once inside the property, they carried out a search uncovering a Cannabis farm worth an estimated £57,000.
Two men aged 37 and 25 were both arrested and later charged with being concerned in the production of cannabis.
They appeared at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday and are next due to appear at Newcastle Crown Court on February 23.
Neighbourhood Inspector Michael Robson of Northumbria Police said: “Without our intervention this farm would continue to operate long term, turning profits which would undoubtedly find their way back into organised crime, possibly funding more serious offences.
“Operation Vienna continues to see great results – it is intelligence based and sees our officers working in tandem with the local authority Environmental Health team, ready to act on concerns and information supplied by the wider community, partners and other agencies. The team works in real time, dealing with a range of community safety issues in Bensham, from ASB to more serious crime issues, like drug supply.
“Dismantling any cannabis farm, no matter how big or small, is of huge benefit to the local community – especially those living on the same street, who are put at risk when the electricity is bypassed.
“We would encourage residents to work with us and ask that if you see anything suspicious in your community, please let us know. Your information could help us take action against criminals who are operating in your area.”
To report suspicious activity please use the Tell us Something page on our website.
Alternatively you can report via Crimestoppers by calling 0800 555111.