A string of police raids across Limburg since last Friday have led to the discovery of 45,000 marijuana plants growing among sweetcorn.
In total, seven large and 87 small plantations were found after police flew over the region in a helicopter. The biggest had 15,000 plants.
Local police chief Jack Philipse told news agency ANP Limburg was a popular location for growing marijuana because of the corn fields. It is one of the few places in the country where the plant is grown in the open air rather than in greenhouses.
Farmers under pressure
Venray mayor Jos Waals told ANP many farmers may have felt under pressure from criminal gangs to grow marijuana, partly due to the recession. In addition, the sector is becoming more professional and attracting big money, he said.
Farmers who want to stop growing hemp are blackmailed and threatened, he said. ‘There is a lot of unease.’
Local council officers, the police and farming organisation LLTB are to look at ways of combating the problem, ANP said.
Earlier this month police discovered a plantation containing nearly 50,000 hemp plants in a sweetcorn field near Lelystad. That turned out to be part of a textile development project run by Wageningen University.
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