OFFICERS investigating cannabis cultivation in Barnsley have recovered more than 5,000 plants in the last year, new figures have revealed.

The most recent find was at a commercial property on Market Street in the town centre on Tuesday, where more than 650 plants were seized by officers from Barnsley Central’s neighbourhood team and tasking team.

Various investigations have yielded hundreds of cannabis plants, particularly those deemed to be Albanian operations - which bosses told the Chronicle has led to 2,091 plants being taken off the street in the last 12 months.

A series of stings around the town centre took place last June, where several Albanian nationals were taken into custody and certain hallmarks of such operations were identified - such as high-value equipment, modification to properties such as diverting electricity, and a liveable kitchen, living room and bathroom otherwise surrounded by rooms housing cannabis cultivations.

Suspects detained in the raids on Middlesex Street, Tune Street, Corporation Street, Conway Street and Eldon Street North are awaiting trial dates, according to police.

Intelligence fed into Barnsley’s neighbourhood teams has also been crucial, with 18 incidents yielding a further 1,649 plants across the 12-month period.

Operation Sceptre, carried out last month, saw officers make further gains against cannabis cultivation.

The operation is a crackdown on knife crime and associated offences, including drug crime.

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Cherie Buttle, Barnsley’s Superintendent, said: “Over the last 12 months, we have really ramped up our efforts to disrupt organised crime in Barnsley, removing cannabis and other drugs from our streets.

“Our neighbourhood policing teams, tasking teams and other resources across the force have been relentless in their effort to identify cannabis cultivations and recover the plants before they can be sold.

“Last week, we as a force took part in Operation Sceptre, a nationwide initiative to tackle knife crime and other associated offences.

“We executed numerous warrants across the town as part of our activity, and my officers seized over 1,500 plants - with a street value of approximately £1.5 million.

“Our job is to keep people who live and work in Barnsley safe, and there is an undeniable link between drugs and violent crime.

“We will continue to act on any community intelligence and execute raids on addresses believed to be involved in the production and supply of drugs.”

In late April, three warrants were carried out at properties on Doncaster Road and Brinckman Street.

Police also executed a warrant on Victoria Street in Stairfoot, where Marek Bisewski, 33, was arrested and later charged.

He has since been released on police bail to appear at Barnsley Magistrates’ Court on June 24.

Report any concerns via 101 or through Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.