Five people have been arrested after a cannabis farm worth more than £100,000 was found in Northumberland.

The discovery was made in Ashington in the early hours of Saturday after police received a call about men acting suspiciously near a van on Myrtle Street.

When officers arrived, they were led to an address on Laburnum Terrace where the cannabis operation was uncovered with the farm spread over a two-bedroom flat and the property's loft.

The plants, thought to have a street value of around £100,000, were seized and have been destroyed.

Five people have been arrested - four men, aged 20, 24, 29 and 35, and a woman aged 35.

They have since been released under investigation.

Inspector Phil Patterson, of the Ashington Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “This discovery of a large-scale criminal operation was possible because a member of the public noticed something suspicious and contacted police.

“They absolutely did the right thing – the public are our eyes and ears, and we have now dismantled this cannabis farm and taken action to prevent criminals from making any further financial gain from the set up.”

He added: “This isn’t a resident growing a couple of plants for personal use or for medicinal purposes. It’s a sophisticated operation that is linked to organised crime.

“This type of criminality inevitably leads to violence, anti-social behaviour and vulnerable people being caught up in a sophisticated criminal operation

“It’s therefore imperative that we find these illegal drugs, destroy them and ensure they are taken off the streets of Ashington.

“They are also potentially fatal for those who live in neighbouring properties. The electric had been bypassed at the address, which could have caused a fire with a devastating outcome.

“It’s a frightening thought that someone could be living next door to a potential death trap and that’s why we make no apology for our zero-tolerance stance on this kind of criminality.

“We would always encourage anybody who believes somebody is using a property for this purpose to contact police.”