FOUR Newport addresses were raided as part of an operation that uncovered £3.5 million worth of cannabis plants.

Officers went to three locations in the Stow Hill area yesterday at first light as part of Operation Pristina, led by South Wales Police.

The force said the addresses were linked to the two-and-a-half-year operation, which ended yesterday with a total haul of 3,500 cannabis plants worth £3.5 million, and £400,000 in cash.

The fourth Newport address raided by South Wales Police was in Old Hill, on February 9.

The crackdown targeted drug crime in Wales and England – another seven addresses were searched in Cardiff, Bath and Bristol yesterday, bringing the total to 26 since 2010.

Seven men and one woman were arrested as South Wales Police officers were joined by colleagues from Gwent Police, Avon and Somerset Police, and staff from the UK Border Agency, fire and ambulance services.

A large cannabis factory found on the Eastgate Business Park, in Cardiff, by some of the 130 officers deployed was dismantled.

DI Paul Latham said: “During the course of this operation we have successfully disrupted many of those who have been suspected of dealing in drugs.

“They are a source of misery andthe message is simple – drugs will not be tolerated.”

Assets, suspected of being funded by criminal activities, were also seized under the Proceeds of Crime Act and will nowbe subject to a financial investigation.