FIVE cannabis factories have been shutdown in Southampton last month.

During March, police located five cannabis factories in Denzil Avenue, Burgess Road, St Andrews Road, Cranbury Avenue and Romsey Road.

Around 830 plants were seized in total with an estimated combined street value of £628,000

A total of 15 people have been arrested, nine of which have been charged with offences.

Chief Inspector Ricky Dhanda said “We know that a lot people think it’s just cannabis. 

"We have heard people say if it were legalised, all these problems we talk about would go away. 

"It is not for us to get into debate about the law, and whilst the production and supply of cannabis is illegal, people are victims of serious harm, and people suffer – which is something that we cannot ignore. 

"It is vital we take action in order to reduce drug related harm and the associated crime to help keep our communities safe.

“The production of drugs is linked to hidden harm and large scale operations like these are often run by organised crime groups.

"Those groups are likely to engage in very serious violence involving weapons, such as firearms. 

"They may also take advantage of vulnerable people, exploiting them or making them work in servitude. 

"The money made by these groups is reinvested into other crimes, weapons, and firearms that blight our communities and cause serious harm – so the seizures we make are important. 

"The true cost of just recreational drug use can be incredibly damaging to someone else’s community, someone else’s life.”

Police are now warning landlords to make sure they know what is going on inside their occupied and unoccupied properties. 

Landlords can face serious repercussions if their tenant is using a rental property as a cannabis factory. They could face prosecution, a jail sentence, or even have their property seized.

Landlords often suffer property damage too, including ceilings and walls knocked through, wiring ripped out, floorboards removed, furniture destroyed and water damage.

A cannabis factory in the property also significantly increases the risk of fire or explosion.