Officers from Northwich Local Policing Unit have rescued a man – believed to be a victim of modern slavery - from a large scale cannabis farm in Winsford.
The 38-year-old Vietnamese man was found when officers discovered the cannabis farm at Drill Hall, a former Bingo Hall, on Dingle Lane on Wednesday 11 April.
Police believe that the man may have been trafficked to the UK and was being exploited. The man is currently being supported and has been offered the necessary help and advice to ensure he is safe from harm.
Detective Inspector Liam Furlong said: “Thanks to local intelligence the victim in this case has been saved from further exploitation and is now receiving the specialist support that he requires.
“In addition we’ve also recovered a significant quantity of Cannabis which could well have been destined for the streets of Winsford.
“This is a great result and it shows that we take seriously any information we receive from the public. We know the negative impact illegal drug use and supply can have on the community and it is an issue we take extremely seriously.
“Drug use and supply is an issue of concern for the local community and we continue to do all we can to put a stop to this sort of activity.”
Enquiries in relation to the discovery are currently ongoing and at this stage no arrests have been made.
Following the rescue officers are keen to remind members of the public about the signs of modern slavery.
DS Clare Ellis, from the Strategic Public Protection Unit, said: “Modern slavery is a challenging issue to deal with as it is very much a hidden crime. It is hidden in every community and in many cases the victims are very vulnerable and are specifically targeted by their exploiters”.
“It takes many forms but the most common include criminal exploitation, sexual exploitation, forced labour and domestic servitude.
“I would urge anyone who has any information about this type of crime or is concerned about someone being a potential victim to call Cheshire Police on 101. Alternatively, if you do not feel comfortable contacting police directly, you can also call the national modern slavery helpline on 0800 0121 700.”
Anyone with any information that could assist the investigation, is asked to contact Cheshire Police on 101 quoting incident number 33374. Information can also be passed anonymously, via Crimestoppers, on 0800 555 111.