POLICE discovered what they said was cannabis growing inside a wardrobe during raids on homes as part a crackdown on suspected thieves and drug dealers.

More than 40 West Mercia Police officers were involved in Operation Christmas Crackdown, although the results brought anything but goodwill to the occupiers of the 23 homes targeted.

Thirteen people were arrested yesterday as officers discovered everything from cannabis to class A drugs including crack and heroin, and a loaded crossbow.

The Worcester News was given special access to the operation, which is running all week.

Superintendent Steve Cullen, operation commander, said the aim was to arrest 100 suspected robbers, burglars and drug-dealers by the end of the week.

Addressing officers before the launch of the operation, he said: “I will keep this short as we want to get out there.

"But in essence, we’re showing them our gang is bigger than theirs.”

Uniformed police, CID detectives, traffic and intelligence divisions had all been brought in for the co-ordinated strike to disrupt Christmas for “known robbers, burglars and drug dealers”.

Officers from Warwickshire Police helped with traffic operations, with officers looking for “vehicles of interest” used by known criminals, as well as uninsured drivers and the like.

Normal police operations were continuing all day.

Deputy Chief Constable (DCC) Simon Chesterman said the crackdown was ahead of Christmas when “crime tends to spike” as crooks prey on people buying Christmas gifts.

He said: “We will be coming through their doors, we will be arresting them and we will be bringing them to justice.”

Following the seven-strong team of officers of Charlie Victor Three, the first warrant was served at a house in Walnut Avenue, Brickfields.

The early morning raid had neighbours’ curtains twitching. No arrests were made.

Meanwhile, in Teme Road, Warndon, their colleagues recovered a loaded crossbow, although no arrests were made.

After a quick debrief at the police station, officers of 'Charlie Victor Three' were sent to serve another drugs warrant on a maisonette in Elgar Avenue, Malvern.

Police put the door in with two blows and uncovered what they said were three cannabis plants in a grower hidden in a wardrobe, along with two bags of herbal cannabis.

A man and a woman were arrested on suspicion of cultivating cannabis and possession of cannabis.

Officers used body-worn cameras to record entry and evidence.

DCC Chesterman accompanied the Malvern team, while Sgt Peter Frankish, the team’s leader, was pleased with the result.

He said: “We forced entry, found two bags of what we believe is herbal cannabis and evidence of cultivation and two people have been arrested.

"All in all, it’s a good result.”

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• A man was arrested in Ennerdale Close, Warndon, on suspicion of burglary.
• A male youth was arrested in Wasdale Court, Warndon, on suspicion of burglary.
• A man was arrested in Henwick Road, St John’s, on suspicion of theft.
• A man and a woman were detained in Elgar Avenue, Malvern, on suspicion of possession with intent to supply cannabis and the production of cannabis.
• Two men were arrested in Langdale Drive, Warndon, on suspicion of theft from a car.
• A man was arrested in Lansdowne Road, Worcester, on suspicion of possession of a class A drug.
• A man was arrested in Foregate Street, Worcester, on suspicion of fraud.
• A man was arrested in London Road, Worcester, on suspicion of criminal damage.