DRUG dealers drained a swimming pool... then filled it with a £100,000 drug factory.
Police discovered the sophisticated set up in a private swimming pool at a property in London Road, Billericay.
When officers arrived to raid the property, the “gardener” who had been caring for the cannabis, scarpered - leaving behind a drug-laden car, his dog and driving documents.
The drugs den was just meters from a children’s nursery.
Sgt Paul Costin, from Billericay Police Station said: “A member of the public reported a strong smell of cannabis coming from a property on London Road.
“Police officers attended the property but could not smell anything.
“Whilst there, they discovered the main house had an outhouse with a swimming pool in it that had been rented out.
“Officers executed a search warrant and found the swimming pool had been drained and a sophisticated cannabis factory had been built inside it.”
Police found the cannabis had recently been harvested and stuffed in to black plastic bin bags - lined up against one wall.
A further search found the suspect had recently been at the drugs den and had left behind a car filled with bags of cannabis with the keys in the ignition.
The man had also left behind his dog.
The pool had been boarded out and sealed with silicone so that nobody outside the pool house would suspect drugs were inside.
It is thought the cannabis started to smell as it was being harvested.
Sgt Costin added: “In my entire 27 years service I have never seen anything so well thought out.
“I have never seen anything like it before.”
It is not thought the owners of the property were involved in the cultivation of the cannabis.
Police have identified suspects and enquiries are continuing.