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PSNI

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Officers from the Paramilitary Crime Task Force made the discovery on Friday afternoon

More than £600,000 worth of suspected cannabis has been seized by police following searches in north Belfast and Ballyclare.

Two raids were carried out as part of an investigation into criminality linked to the east Belfast UVF.

Officers from the Paramilitary Crime Task Force made the discovery on Friday afternoon.

A 45-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of cultivation of cannabis and possession with intent to supply.

PSNI Det Insp Mark Hamilton said: “Following a proactive policing operation in the area, suspected cannabis plants with an estimated street value of £435,000 were recovered at the scene.

“Officers carried out a subsequent search at residential premises in the Ballyclare area as part of the ongoing investigation. In excess of £200,000 of suspected cannabis was seized during this subsequent search operation.”

‘They prey on vulnerable’

Det Insp Hamilton said the operation is evidence that the PSNI “will continue to listen to the concerns of the community and act on any information provided”.

“We will investigate all aspects of criminality being carried out by anyone purporting to be operating under the convenient flag of a paramilitary organisation,” he added.

“Paramilitaries are not defenders of their communities, instead they are criminals who prey on vulnerable people and exploit any circumstances they can for their own gain.”

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