Some of County Durham’s "most prolific offenders" have been arrested after police found a colossal cannabis farm inside of an abandoned pub.

Seventeen people were arrested as part of Durham Police’s Operation Trident, when officers swooped in a series of dawn raids, including on a derelict pub in Easington Colliery, on Wednesday morning.

Fourteen men and three women were arrested in County Durham for a range of offences including burglary, criminal damage, theft, child neglect and the cultivation of cannabis.

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The Northern Echo:

Operation Trident is Durham Police’s response to tackling neighbourhood crime and has seen over 50 arrests in three months – police officers are aiming to send the message to criminals that if they are on the list they will be caught.

Superintendent Lee Gosling, of Durham Constabulary, said: “These are some of the most prolific offenders who are causing misery to the communities in which they live.

“If you are prepared to commit a crime, then you must be prepared to face the consequences. This kind of action by the force will continue, and anyone breaking the law could be next on the Trident list.

“We will continue to use all the resources at our disposal to catch these people.

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The Northern Echo: The cannabis farm, found in an abandoned pub in Easington Colliery, was valued at around £2.5 million. The cannabis farm, found in an abandoned pub in Easington Colliery, was valued at around £2.5 million. (Image: Durham Constabulary)

“We know our communities will not tolerate this kind of criminality and we would like to thank the public for their continued support.”

Up to 30 officers visited several addresses across the force area, including Peterlee, Darlington, and Stanley, to locate their identified targets.

A cannabis farm, with an estimated street value of approximately £2m, was uncovered in Easington Colliery during the operation and subsequently dismantled and removed.

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Like with previous days of action, warrants were obtained for some properties, but in other cases, officers just knocked on the door.

Weapons, drugs and a quantity of cash were also seized at other addresses.

Anyone with any information about suspicious activity happening in their area can share it via the Durham Constabulary website, or can call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.