Stanningley: Cannabis Farm Found in Disused Factory
Police have uncovered a massive cannabis farm hidden under the floor of a disused factory in Stanningley.
Officers from the Armley, Bramley and Stanningley Neighbourhood Policing Team were responding to information from the local community when they searched the disused warehouse on Town Street, Stanningley on Saturday (24/11) morning.
After finding a secret hatch, which was hidden amongst piles of waste and boxes, officers accessed the underground space through a two foot by two foot trapdoor and uncovered a large cannabis farm.
The underground room contained a sophisticated and large scale set-up where the electricity had been abstracted from the mains to power a heating and water system designed to cultivate almost 600 cannabis plants.
578 cannabis plants and a bin liner containing dried cannabis bud was seized from the warehouse and destroyed. The property has now been made safe by electrical engineers.
Two local men aged 41 and 50 were arrested from the underground room on suspicion of production of a class B drug and abstraction of electricity.
Following a subsequent search of a house in the Stanningley area, a 39-year-old woman and an 18-year-old man were arrested on suspicion of a production of a class B drug. Officers also seized a number of financial documents from the property.
All four people arrested in connection with the investigation have now been released on police bail.
Inspector Mark Wheeler, who leads the Armley, Bramley and Stanningley Neighbourhood Policing Team, said:
"This was an unusual incident in terms of the concealed location of the cannabis farm but it does demonstrate the value of community intelligence and how effective the public can be in reporting suspicious activity.
"With almost 600 cannabis plants destroyed this police activity will have a significant impact on the localised drug market.
"Forming part of the investigation, officers will be exploring offences under the Proceeds of Crime Act to ensure anyone convicted in connection with this investigation are not allowed to profit from this form of illegal activity.
"Cannabis factories are used by organised criminals to fund a number of other illegal activities that are often perpetrated on those living and working in the same area.
"The combination of high amounts of electricity and water can also be extremely dangerous, particularly for those living close by, and I would continue to ask local people to help us combat this element of drug crime by acting as our eyes and ears.
"Cannabis farms can emit a strong and unusual smell and neighbours may hear noises whilst a farm is being set up. They may also see people coming and going with bags and other equipment such as powerful lights.
"It is also likely curtains will be kept closed but bright lights may appear to be left on around the clock. Residents living in the street are again likely to see various comings and goings.
"If you have any suspicions please get in touch with us and let us investigate."
Anyone with information about suspected criminality in their area is asked to call the Armley, Bramley and Stanningley Neighbourhood Policing Team via: 101 or call Crimestoppers, anonymously and in confidence, on: 0800 555 111