A police report says UK cannabis farms are linked to “other serious criminality including human trafficking and modern slavery”.
Cannabis plants worth more than £62m are seized every year by police.
And a report by the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) has linked the cultivation of the illegal plant to other crimes including money laundering, human trafficking and illegal immigration.
The study said commercial cultivation of cannabis “continues to pose a significant risk to the UK” with more than a quarter of a million plants seized every year.
Data used in the report said most of those caught commercially cultivating cannabis are white British men aged “Reports suggest a new trend of cultivation sites being controlled by white British organised crime groups which employ Vietnamese nationals who are forced to work in cultivation,” the report said.
It also found that nine out of ten cannabis farms – those with more than 25 plants – were based in residential properties.
NPCC lead on Cannabis, Temporary Assistant Chief Constable Bill Jephson said: “Tackling the criminals at the source of wholesale cannabis cultivation remains a key priority for us”. “The report highlights the links with violence, class A drugs and other serious criminality including human trafficking and modern slavery.”