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AN ALLIGATOR, a king cobra and a rattlesnake were among a number of dangerous animals seized by police and council officers following a series of raids on North West homes and businesses.
Warrants were executed at four addresses in Runcorn, Widnes and Warrington during a joint operation between Cheshire police and Halton council.
Police searched an address in Allen Road, Runcorn, and discovered a cannabis factory in an upstairs bedroom last Friday morning.
Officers seized around 60 plants and equipment for heating and lighting the plants.
They also found a live poisonous snake and a number of tanks housing snakes in the property.
The reptiles were taken away from the property by the council using its powers under the Dangerous Wild Animals Act.
A number of dead venomous snakes were also found.
Police and council officers then carried out searches at three other properties – a home in Runcorn and businesses in Widnes and Warrington.
During the search at a house in Goldcrest Close, Runcorn, officers found an alligator, a snake and other reptiles.
Classified as a dangerous and wild animal, the alligator was seized and taken away.
Wildlife officers and specialist reptile handling staff were brought in to deal safely with the animals.
Police officers and council staff found a large king cobra, three monocled cobras and a rattlesnake at Leroy’s Lizard Lounge, a reptile stockist in Padgate Lane, Warrington.
The animals were handed over voluntarily by the owners of the business to specialist officers.
The search at the business in Gladstone Street, Widnes, revealed some minor breaches of legislation under the Pet Animals Act which were dealt with by council staff.
A 33-year-old man was arrested in Widnes on suspicion of cultivating cannabis, abstracting electricity and possessing dangerous wild animals.
He was later released on police bail pending further inquiries.
Inspector Dave Gordon, of Cheshire police, said: “This operation was initiated by information we received from members of the community. We were concerned for the safety of the public so swift and decisive action was taken.
“The animals were seized as part of a joint operation involving police, Halton council staff, wildlife officers and reptile experts.
“Some of the animals seized are extremely dangerous – indeed potentially lethal.
“They were taken to a safe location where they will remain for the time being in the care of reptile specialists.”
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