IT HAS been a busy few weeks for police across the county, with Covid-19 still playing a big part in everyone’s daily life.

We are, however, responding to incidents almost as we did pre-coronavirus but still risk assessing each call prior to attending.

At the end of last week, our funded East Lothian Community Action Team officers were involved in executing a Misuse of Drugs Act search warrant at an address in Tranent.

Within the property was found a significant and well-planned-out cannabis cultivation, with plants valued at about £125,000, and a male has been arrested and charged.

East Lothian Courier: The cannabis plants

This operation was intelligence-led and we always rely on the support of the public to report suspicious activity and pass that information to us.

This allows us to then obtain warrants from a sheriff to carry out the enforcement. It is vital that you continue to report your concerns, either to us on the 101 number, at a station or by speaking to a local officer. Alternatively, you can call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Signs to look out for include: a distinct continuous pungent smell, plant-growing equipment; lighting and ventilation being installed; a constant buzzing noise or large ducting tubes protruding from the windows; blacked-out windows; unsociable comings and goings and vegetable matter being discarded in the gardens or wheelie bins.

If you are a landlord, you must ensure your property is not being used for this purpose by carrying out regular intrusive checks.

On many occasions, those who create the cultivations have a complete disregard for the property and usually leave the property in a bad state whilst owing lots of money for rent arrears.

Many of the comments that get added to social media when we recover cannabis relate to the belief that it is not harmful and that police resources could be better utilised on other areas of business.

Let me tell you that this is not the case. Commercial cannabis cultivations are, and always will be, a priority for Police Scotland.

The criminals involved in commercial cannabis cultivations often have links to serious and organised crime groups and they are usually involved in human trafficking.

This is the process of trapping people through the use of violence, deception or coercion and then exploiting them for financial gain. Many of those trafficked are vulnerable people who are simply trying to get a better life by escaping poverty or persecution.

Human trafficking can happen anywhere and victims could be subject to sexual exploitation or forced labour and could be living next door to you in East Lothian.

Please look out for the signs which include: multiple foreign nationals living at the same address, occupants rarely seen outside, occupants changing regularly and male callers day and night, only staying for a short time.

It is all linked to serious and organised crime and this is a priority for East Lothian.

We are about to publish our policing plan for 2020-2023 and tackling serious and organised crime is one of our five key priorities. If you suspect it, please report it. All information provided is assessed and you making that call may make all the difference.