TIP-OFFS from members of the public led police to two huge cannabis farms in empty houses.
The properties involved were in Haworth Street and Edward Street, Rishton, where specialist officers recovered more than 200 plants which could have a street value of thousands of pounds. They are now trying to trace the owners of the houses for questioning.
The plants were taken back to Great Harwood Police Station and have been left to wilt and die.
Police executed warrants at the two addresses last week and about 12 officers from specialist departments such as the support unit, response unit, intelligence unit and the local neighbourhood policing team were involved in the raids.
They forced entry into the two properties at 1pm on Thursday and discovered the suspected drugs along with sophisticated lighting equipment and ventilation systems.
Sergeant Tim Cussans said: "This was a significant seizure of suspected cannabis plants and cannabis cultivation equipment."
No arrests were made but Sergeant Stuart Banks said the investigations had now spread across the county. As the Observer went to press, no arrests had been confirmed.
Sergeant Banks added: "It is very rare for a find such as this. In my experience, this is one of the larger suspected cannabis farms that I have seen. We would ask residents near the two properties to contact us if they have noticed any suspicious goings-on and if they can help us identify who is responsible.
"We are eager to speak to the occupants of both addresses and I urge them to contact the police immediately. I hope that members of the community are reassured that we do act on information we receive and take offences such as this extremely seriously."
The raids were carried out as part of the constabulary's Operation Summer Nights focusing on crime and anti-social behaviour in East Lancashire with the help of additional police patrols.
Anyone with details about the suspected cannabis farms should ring 0845 1253545 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111.