Six people have been arrested after an estimated £600,000 worth of cannabis was discovered by police in east Belfast.

Detectives uncovered the suspected cannabis factory following a planned search of a commercial premises in Castlereagh on Tuesday.

The six people including two women aged 35 and 61, and three men aged 40,22 and 53 are currently are at Musgrave Police Station helping police with their enquiries.

Detective Inspector Pete Mullan said: “Yesterday’s find is further evidence that the PSNI is committed to removing and disrupting the illegal supply of drugs and the harm they cause drugs which organised criminals bring to our communities. Drugs are a blight on our society and cause damage not only to users but to their families and communities.

“Cannabis is the most widely used illegal drug and the most seized illegal drug in Northern Ireland with 90% of the drug market being casual users. Last week we launched our ‘Think Before You Buy’ initiative to help make people aware that casual drug use also feeds into the coffers of the organised criminal gangs that supply illegal drugs and who use violence and intimidation to strike fear through the heart of our communities.

“We want people to consider when they hand over their money to a drug dealer, where that money goes and what it’s used for; that it’s not being invested for the good of the community. Instead, it’s going to merciless organised crime gangs who peddle their ill-gotten gains with no regard for society.

“Yesterday’s find has removed a substantial amount of cannabis which has prevented around £600,000 from getting into the hands of organised criminals and therefore preventing them from bringing harm to our communities.”

The Detective Inspector added: “We are committed to tackling the issue of drugs and would appeal to the public to speak to us if they have any concerns or information regarding drugs in their area. The number to call is 101.

“Alternatively, information can also be provided to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 which is 100% anonymous and gives people the power to speak up and stop crime.”

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