Police raid on drugs factory

PUBLISHED: 11:59 06 July 2006 | UPDATED: 10:25 06 May 2010

Cannabis plants crammed together in one of the rooms

Cannabis plants crammed together in one of the rooms

THIS is the inside of a three-bedroom home which had been converted into a drugs factory. Police raided the house in Gonville Crescent, Stevenage, on Tuesday morning and found 315 cannabis plants. Neighbours say they were shocked to learn the house was b

Police force their way in

THIS is the inside of a three-bedroom home which had been converted into a drugs factory.

Police raided the house in Gonville Crescent, Stevenage, on Tuesday morning and found 315 cannabis plants.

Neighbours say they were shocked to learn the house was being used to grow the equivalent of more than £216,000 worth of cannabis a year.

No one was home at the time of the raid but forensics evidence was taken and arrests will follow.

The hundreds of cannabis plants

POLICE found more than £54,000 worth of cannabis plants when they raided a three-bedroom house on Tuesday.

Officers from the firearms team forced their way into the property in Gonville Crescent in Stevenage as part of Operation Miss.

No one was home at the time of the operation but a small part of the living room had been sealed off and it was clear someone was living there.

The rest of the house - the main part of the living room, the kitchen and the three bedrooms - were full of 315 cannabis plants.

The bathroom was being used to house all the chemicals needed to grow the plants.

Officers had to check the premises for booby traps and make the house safe.

Cannabis factories like the one found on Tuesday are becoming more common since drug gangs perfected the conversion of houses to combat the short growing seasons.

Those involved seal the windows of the house and set up lamps and heaters which work on timers to help the plants grow.

But all the wiring and artificial lights generates high levels of heat - it was 35c in one of the bedrooms.

The heat and extra wires mean houses used for drug factories have 40 per cent greater risk of fire than from a normal home.

Speaking outside the address in Gonville Crescent, Pc Andy Speller said: "This is typical of other three bedroom cannabis factories. It would have cost about £5,000 to set up this house and pay for all the equipment.

"This would be part of a national drugs operation. This is big business - it is organised crime."

In a typical three bedroom house cannabis factory there will be an average of 300 plants which take 13 weeks to mature. Those 300 plants go on to make £54,000 of cannabis - that is £216,000 per year.

A mother-of-two living near to the house said: "I am totally shocked. It makes you think. You just do not know where you are living and who you are living near."

Another resident said he had never seen anybody coming and going from the house and thought it was empty. He said: "The place is always in darkness."

To date there have been four cannabis factories discovered within the eastern Hertfordshire area.

A police spokesman said: "This raid is an example of good police intelligence.


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