LANCASHIRE Police officers have featured on a BBC programme about human traffickers.

The BBC North West Tonight programme showed the East Lancashire exploitation team, who took over the case of a boy who was threatened with a gun by human traffickers and taken from Vietnam to Lancashire.

The child, who was then 15, was tricked into thinking they were taking him to see his mother.

But Sang, a Vietnamese national who the BBC is not identifying, was instead forced on a plane, hid in lorries and brought to Lancashire.

Lancashire Police believe his captors planned to use him as a modern slave, tending a cannabis farm, but he managed to escape and is now in foster care.

Sgt Stuart Peall, from the East Lancashire exploitation team, told the programme: "It's horrendous and there are occasions when you'll go in and there's people locked inside.

"They have a mattress to sleep on, not very much food."

The programme also showed the team on their way to another suspected cannabis farm in Greater Manchester. A woman found in the house by police has been charged with conspiracy to produce cannabis.

According to the programme, police have found the vast majority of cannabis farms are operated by Vietnamese gangs, with the team from East Lancashire arresting over 40 Vietnamese nationals in connection with cannabis operations over the last 12 months.

But Sgt Peall said that finding out whether any of them have been trafficked is increasingly hard.

He said: "Even if it's the case they've been trafficked, they won't tell you any details around whose done it to them.

"And I totally understand that, you know there's a lot of threat behind it, they're in debt, they can't say anything to us, but it's incredibly hard to crack."

Sgt Peall said his team does all it can to help victims but said that criminal often claims to be children so they'll be treated less harshly.

He added: "I can't tell you how many 15-year-old Vietnamese people I've met. And that is a tactic they use."

The work of the team saw Sang find a foster family and he is currently at college.