Police carry out raid at cannabis factory
POLICE swooped on a property in Covingham yesterday to discover a full-scale cannabis factory in a three-bedroom house in a quiet neighbourhood.
More than 250 plants were discovered crammed into rooms around the house, which had a total street value of more than £75,000.
Neighbours began to get suspicious when they noticed the house on Merlin Way was not being lived in, but people seemed to come and go as they pleased.
Officers raided the property late yesterday morning, and found four rooms had been given over to drug cultivation.
Three upstairs bedrooms and one downstairs room were sealed up with black tarpaulin, with a ventilation system installed and plants packed in from wall to wall, leaving scarcely room to move.
Scores of industrial chemical containers had been left in the bathroom, where the tub had been used as a makeshift mixing bowl.
Furniture remained in the living room and utensils lay scattered around the kitchen.
Stefan Watts, beat manager for Covingham and Nythe, led the raid on the property, and said information from the pubic is vital to such successes.
“This is a real disruption to the criminal network in the town,” he said. “No arrests have been made at this stage, but we have several lines of enquiry to help us identify possible people involved.
“Initial information came in from members of the public, who highlighted some aspects about the house which aroused suspicion, including the lack of occupation of the address but with people occasionally coming and going.
“Further research indicated a strong possibility it could be being used as a cannabis factory. We had the results from search analysis from the police helicopter, which showed a very high thermal reading.
“This sort of operation could be found anywhere in the town, and without information from the public we would not have known about the use of this property.”
The house had been considered empty for most of the year, and police believe the landlord may not be aware of its recent use.
“The last tenants moved out in February or March last year, so this operation has been set up some time since then,” said PC Watts.
“The house will now be left secure and we will be contacting the owner to let them know what has been going on inside their property.”