A RUNCORN man has been arrested after Merseyside police discovered a cannabis farm in St Helens.

The 33-year-old was arrested on suspicion of cannabis production along with a 22-year-old man and 23 year old woman from St Helens who face the same charge.

Police executed a warrant shortly after 1pm yesterday at a property in Carnegie Crescent, Sutton where officers located 43 cannabis plants with a potential annual yield of £172,000.

All three suspects have since been released under investigation.

Utility services attended to make the property safe along with the force's Cannabis Dismantling Team who seized all plants and growing equipment.

Sergeant Gary Sorrell from the specialist Cannabis Dismantling Team said: "The dismantling of any cannabis farm is a positive step as they bring with them many associated risks.

"Cultivating cannabis, overloading the electricity sockets in the process and mixing with water is dangerous and can cause a fire.

“Living close to one of these farms means you are potentially in danger from the fires that they can cause, so report any of the signs and help us remove any such hazards from your street. Cannabis cultivation by criminal gangs can cause serious harm in our communities and we know that criminal groups involved in the cultivation of cannabis are usually involved in other serious organised crime, bringing fear and harm to those around them.

"We would ask that if you believe someone is using a property as a cannabis farm, please tell us so we can take positive action and find those responsible for setting them up."

Some of the signs that cannabis is being grown are:

Strange smells and sounds.

Frequent and varied visitors to a property, often at unusual times.

Gardening equipment being taken into a property, such as plant pots, fertilizer, fans and industrial lighting.

Windows are sealed and covered or the curtains are permanently closed.

Heat from an adjoining property

Birds gathering on a roof in cold weather.

Individually these activities may seem commonplace, however, together may indicate something more sinister.

Anyone with any information should call police on 101 quoting reference 0517314712 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

Information can also be provided online at crimestoppers-uk.org/give-information/give-information-online.