Operation Mille: Dismantling the £130m Cannabis Empire

In a landmark move against organised crime, UK law enforcement agencies have launched a nationwide operation, seizing cannabis plants worth up to £130m and arresting almost 1,000 individuals. Coined "Operation Mille", this operation is hailed as the most significant of its kind in UK law enforcement history.

Operation Mille

Sweeping Raids Across England and Wales

As part of Operation Mille, more than 180,000 cannabis plants were discovered in a series of coordinated raids across England and Wales. Additionally, 20 firearms, £1m worth of cocaine, and £636,000 in cash were seized from these raids, further highlighting the scale of the operation.

The Link Between Cannabis and Organised Crime

According to law enforcement agencies, cannabis cultivation, although categorised as a Class B offence, is a significant source of illicit income for organised crime groups (OCGs). These groups are also involved in serious offences, including money laundering, Class A drug smuggling, and violent crimes.

Steve Jupp, the National Police Chiefs' Council lead for Serious and Organised Crime, explained, "We know that organised networks involved in cannabis production are also directly linked to an array of other serious criminality such as Class A drug importation, modern slavery and wider violence and exploitation."

The Aim and Outcome of Operation Mille

Named Operation Mille, the month-long crackdown aimed at disrupting OCGs by eliminating a key source of their revenue and apprehending those involved. The operation also aimed to gather intelligence on the operation of these networks to better inform future law enforcement activities.

During the operation, officers coordinated a thousand search warrants. The result was the arrest of 967 individuals for offences including cannabis cultivation, money laundering, and weapons offences. More than 450 of these individuals have since been charged.

A Deeper Look at Cannabis-Related Crime

Jupp further noted that while cannabis-related crime is often considered 'low level', there are clear patterns of exploitation and violence used by OCGs to protect their enterprises. "We also frequently find that cannabis production is just one aspect of their criminal operations and that they are complicit in wider offending which blights our communities," he added.

Operation Mille by Numbers

Operation Mille saw the involvement of around 11,000 officers from all 43 police forces in England and Wales, as well as the National Crime Agency and Immigration Enforcement. These officers coordinated over 1,000 warrants during the month of June, leading to significant disruptions in organised crime.

Operation Mille: A Milestone in UK Law Enforcement

Described as the "most significant" operation of its kind in UK law enforcement history, Operation Mille has set a new precedent in the fight against organised crime. From the seizure of millions of pounds worth of cannabis to the arrest of almost a thousand individuals, Operation Mille has made a significant dent in the operations of OCGs across the UK.

Cash Seized

The Domino Effect of 'Low-Level' Crime

One of the key goals of Operation Mille was to tackle the domino effect caused by 'low-level' offending. As Jupp explained, "Cannabis-related crime is often thought to be 'low level', however there are clear patterns around the exploitation and violence OCGs are using to protect their enterprises." By cracking down on these 'low-level' offences, Operation Mille aimed to prevent more serious crimes from taking place.

The Future of Law Enforcement

The success of Operation Mille provides a promising outlook for the future of law enforcement in the UK. The operation not only disrupted significant criminal activity but also gathered invaluable intelligence that will inform future law enforcement activities.

Operation Mille has demonstrated the power and effectiveness of coordinated law enforcement efforts in the fight against organised crime. By targeting a key revenue source for OCGs and apprehending those involved, this operation has dealt a significant blow to organised crime in the UK. As law enforcement agencies continue to refine their strategies and tactics, the future looks promising for the continued disruption of organised crime networks in the UK.