A CANNABIS factory estimated to be cultivating 500 plants was found by police in Southampton, it was revealed. 

The discovery was made at a property on Shirley Road.

Two men, aged 20 and 43 have been arrested of production of a class B drug and are now on bail.

It follows other recent discoveries of cannabis farms in the city, including one found by fire crews after a blaze on Winchester Road in January.

Earlier this month almost 2,000 cannabis plants with value of £3.8m were seized by police after raids on two Southampton properties. 

In a post on Facebook on Saturday, a spokesperson for Hampshire Constabulary said: "Officers from Southampton West Neighbourhood team are investigating after approximately 500 cannabis plants were discovered in a property on Shirley Road.

"A man aged 20 and another aged 43 were arrested on suspicion of being concerned in the production of a class B drug and are now on bail whilst further investigation takes place.

The post warned: "I understand that some of you may feel that "it's just a bit of weed," but the harm caused in the production of the drug is enormous.

"Large factories like this one are usually run by organised criminal gangs. These gangs are likely to engage in serious violence and use weapons, including firearms.

"They will often target extremely vulnerable adults and young people in the community to assist in the cultivation and supply of the drug."

Anyone with information about the incident is advised to contact police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. 

Reports about drug related activity can also be reported to the police online.