A DRUGS factory was discovered after burglars were spotted trying to break into the home.

It is not clear if the pair targeted the home to steal the more than 100 plants or stumbled across a cannabis drugs den with professional growing equipment.

Police were called after concerns were raised.

A spokesman for Essex Police said: “We were called shortly after 5pm on Thursday, October 17, with reports of two men breaking into an address in Meadow Road, Benfleet.

“When officers arrived, the suspects had gone but a large number of cannabis plants were found inside the property.

“Enquiries are ongoing.”

Officers have been praised after the break in was foiled and plants were found, although both the growers and burglars are still on the loose.

Bill Sharp, Tory councillor for St James’ ward said: “I think it’s very frustrating this is happening and is taking police away from other duties such as monitoring our streets.

“It’s an absolute disgrace and I hope the people responsible are found and dealt with.

“It’s completely unacceptable that law abiding families and residents should have to put up with this.

“I think that anyone who is not involved with this sort of nonsense would find it very shocking.

“It’s good that police are dealing with this and I am delighted that this means more drugs have bene taken off our streets.”

Barbara Cox, 71, of Meadow Road, Benfleet said this sort of thing should not be going on in the community.

She said: “We simply cannot be putting up with this.

“We must praise the police for this great work here.

“I often have my young grandchildren to stay here and this is certainly not the sort of thing I want my grandchildren around.

“The police take a beating at times with so much criticism, but this shows they are out there protecting us.

“I am shocked to hear of this in Benfleet, as it’s a nice quiet area and nothing happens here.

“I am surprised to see there is an issue with drugs in the town.

“I am pleased the drugs have been taken off our streets and the police are doing what they can to tackle the issue.”

Anyone with information is asked to call the Canvey local policing team on 101.

“Alternatively, contact the Crimestoppers charity anonymously on 0800 555 111.