A cannabis forest was discovered just miles in the United Kingdom, with police stumbling on a giant patch of about 150 marijuana plants tucked miles from London.
The discovery was made in the borough of Kingston, with police responding to a report of marijuana plants to find what they described as a veritable forest, the Guardian reported. They shared pictures of the discovery on Twitter, with the pictures going viral and generating hundreds of shares and re-tweets, along with the clever hashtags #TheseAren'tXmasTrees and #saynotodrugs.
Police found out about the plants after a person discovered them tucked away on private land, which was within walking distance of university housing.
As officer Sarah Henderson described, the cannabis forest was well hidden from view, and that plants were very well cared for. She noted that it was the size of a soccer field.
"The area these plants were growing on was the size of a football pitch, it looked like a small forest of Christmas trees and was complete with a gazebo," she said. "Whoever set this up used a really remote spot. The only way to get there was a 20-minute walk through wasteland. But all their time, trouble, and gardening skills will go unrewarded, as the whole lot will now be destroyed by police."
Police said they had secured the cannabis forest and were preparing to destroy the plants.
This is not the first time a giant marijuana farm has been discovered in an odd place. Back in 2010, authorities in Wisconsin said a group of Hispanic men turned a portion of the state's Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest into a gigantic marijuana farm, one that dwarfed the size of the UK's cannabis forest.
Reports indicated that the marijuana patch, which had thousands of plants, may have been the work of a Mexican cartel.
"There certainly is an element to this that leads one to believe there is a Hispanic connection here," Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen said.
Authorities spent weeks trailing the suspected growers, following them as they drove pickup trucks down desolate logging roads and tossing giant sacks filled with the plants into their trucks.
They found more evidence, the Huffington Post reported.
"They followed one suspect to a Fleet Farm in Green Bay, where he purchased six pairs of pruning shears. They watched another man purchase 9 mm ammunition at a nearby Wal-Mart, documents said.Authorities discovered a number of marijuana fields in Wisconsin during a stretch of years from 2008 onward. That included a separate discovery in 2012, with 8,000 plants found with a total of $8 million.
The suspected growers eventually led investigators to a house in Seymour, about 15 miles southwest of Green Bay. According to court documents, the house was a marijuana processing factory."
"The fisherman was walking along the banks of the Oconto River and noticed these patches that had been cleared and disturbed. Trees were down, things didn't look right, and he reported that to authorities, and a surveillance operation was established," Jane Cliff, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Forest Service eastern region, told CNN.
Authorities later asked fishermen and other outdoor activists to keep their eyes out for marijuana on public lands in Wisconsin. Police have also begun using GPS and aerial surveillance to keep an eye on the forests.
There could be more, as well. Federal officials said the number of marijuana growing fields discovered has increased over the last decade, which they said is likely the work of south of the border cartels extending their range into the United States.
Authorities in the United Kingdom did not release more details on the cannabis forest and who could be responsible for planting and cultivating it.
[Image via Twitter / Kingston Police Department]