Police find ‘huge’ drugs operation

Police have uncovered what they described as a ’huge cultivation operation’ during anti drugs searches in Mid Ulster.

They recovered suspected drugs with an estimated street value of £100,000, following a proactive policing operation by officers from Mid Ulster District Support Team and Magherafelt local policing team in Maghera, Kilrea and Coleraine on Friday (18 October).

Officers carried out a search of a property in the Crawfordsburn Drive area of Maghera and uncovered a number of suspected cannabis leaves and other drug paraphernalia.

During follow up searches of properties in the Gorse Road area of Kilrea and the Circular Road area of Coleraine, approximately 160 cannabis plants were seized.

Two men aged 36 and 37 were arrested on suspicion of cultivating cannabis, possession of a class B drug and dishonestly using electricity. They are currently in police custody.

Sergeant Iain Stickland said: “These arrests and seizures are further evidence of our ongoing commitment to removing and disrupting the illegal supply of drugs in Northern Ireland. We know that drugs can ruin lives and line the pockets of organised criminals, and we are determined to disrupt these criminal gangs.

“We are committed to making Northern Ireland a hostile environment for those in our community who are involved in the drugs trade and anyone involved in the drugs trade, or anyone tempted to become involved should be under no illusion - we will seek to identify them, arrest them and place them before the courts.

“I would appeal to anyone who has any information or concerns around the supply of drugs in their community to call us on 101, or the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111, which is 100% anonymous and gives people the power to speak up and stop crime.”

In a video posted on social media on Friday police paid tribute to the public for their help in uncovering the drugs factory, “Maghera this evening and the big red key is swinging [a reference to a door ram].

“Yet again you guys have come up trumps. You tell us who the dealers are and we go and hit them where it hurts.”