'UK's biggest' cannabis farm uncovered in Leeds

A huge cannabis growing operation, believed to be Britain's biggest, has been uncovered in Leeds.

The discovery involving at least 15 separate "cannabis farms" was made at a former Victorian mill converted into privately owned flats within half a mile of the city centre.

Officers swooped on the four-storey stone-built Carr Mill on Buslingthorpe Lane, Meanwood, Leeds, on Wednesday afternoon.

A number of arrests were made and three cars with an estimated value of 150,000 were recovered as part of the police operation.

The raid on the apartment block was sparked when police stopped two men aged in their mid to late 20s on Ellerby Lane, Richmond Hill, Leeds, about 5.30pm on Wednesday.

Inside their Renault van the officers found cash and hydroponics growing equipment. The men were arrested.

Police obtained a search warrant for the Carr Mill apartment complex on Buslingthorpe Lane near to Scott Hall Road.

When they executed the warrant, they discovered that 15 cannabis growing operations had been set up in separate flats within the block.

After the discovery of the illegal growing set-ups a 22-year-old woman was arrested on suspicion of cultivating cannabis and money laundering.

She has been interviewed by officers and released on police bail pending further enquries.

The operation saw Burmantofts and Richmond NPT working with officers from Chapel Allerton Ward NPT, together with divisional CID officers, Scientific Support and the Operations Support Unit.

During the operation police seized the three cars which included a Mercedes and a Porsche.

Two men aged 29 and 26 were later charged with producing cannabis and offences under the Proceeds of Crime Act and appeared before Leeds Magistrates' Court on Friday.

The mill flats complex where the cannabis was discovered is close to a modern purpose-built student accommodation also called Carr Mills which is believed to be not connected to the old building.

The converted mill, formerly a textile dyeing and printing operation run by the firm of Haworth Bros, may house some students.

Kevin Hollinrake MP for Thirsk and Malton Picture: Anna Gowthorpe

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