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Cannabis factory was a serious fire hazard
12:20pm Friday 25th October 2013 in News
A DANGEROUS drugs den filled with 100 cannabis plants was just hours away from bursting into flames when police raided a flat on Canvey.
Police believe families’ lives were put at risk by reckless crooks who had been growing a cultivation of the Class B drug at a block of flats in Aalten Road.
They discovered power points overloaded with electrical equipment during the raid yesterday and warned a huge blaze could have broken out at any time.
Transformers being used to power the drugs factory had become so hot they had started to burn through wooden planks placed on top of them.
Officers from Canvey’s neighbourhood policing team seized about 100 plants with a street value of about £5,000 from the top-floor flat.
Sgt Mark McQuade, who led the operation, said: “This is so reckless. These transformers have burnt through to the wood and could have been just hours away from a massive fire.
“This is a top floor flat. If the property had caught fire late at night, other people on this floor would not have stood a chance of getting out.”
Police were alerted to the property by the landlord who became suspicious when he discovered no one seemed to be living there.
When officers raided the flat they found furniture had been stacked in the bathroom and kitchen, while the two bedrooms had been converted into makeshift growing rooms for the plants.
They also discovered the power supply was by-passing the electricity meter, meaning electricity was being siphoned off the mains and therefore not being paid for.
It is believed one crop of the drug had already been harvested and sold from the plants. The current batch would have been ready for cultivation in about six weeks.
Mr McQuade added: “There has been an increase in drug dealers renting properties and instead of living there, using them to grow drugs. Our advice to landlords is always to organise inspections of your property every three months because that is how long it takes to grow a batch of these plants.
“If your tenant keeps cancelling on you or making excuses not to come to the property then you should be asking why.”
No one was in the flat at the time of the raid. A probe is now under way to establish who is responsible for growing the plants.
Anyone with information can call Canvey police on 101.
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