POLICE uncovered a cannabis factory after concerned neighbours reported a suspected break-in.

Officers were called to Commercial Road, Westcliff, in the early hours of yesterday morning after residents saw two people smash the glass door of a flat.

When police turned up at about 12.15am they found cannabis plants being grown inside the flat.

Officers remained at the scene throughout the day gathering evidence.

One neighbour, who did not want to be named, said he called 999 after seeing two men kicking in the door of the flat.

He said: “I was in my bedroom at about midnight when I heard ‘bang, bang, bang’.

“I looked out the window and saw a black Audi.

“Two fellas kicked down the glass down in the door.

“They smashed half of it and then went in.

“They were in for about 10 minutes.

“I heard one of them shout and then they ran out and jumped back into the car and went off.

“I thought they’d gone in there to fight with the amount of noise they were making.

“I had said to my Mrs I thought it was something to do with drugs, and it turns out I was right.”

A nearby business owner, who also wanted to remain anonymous, added: “From what you can smell there’s a drug factory upstairs.”

Police remained at the scene throughout the day yesterday making sure all equipment used to grow the cannabis plants had been found and removed from the address.

The plants have also been seized.

A spokeswoman for Essex Police said officers were called at 12.15am to a report that a door had been smashed at a property in Commercial Road, Westcliff.

She added: “Officers attended and found a cannabis cultivation plant.

“The cannabis plants have been removed and officers remain at the scene waiting for the property to be made safe so that the hydroponics lighting equipment can be removed.”

Residents who suspect a neighbour may be growing cannabis can look out for high levels of condensation, windows constantly being covered up or blacked out, and strong lighting being switched on at all hours.

The sound of fans, used as ventilation, can also be heard.

Anyone with information can contact Essex Police on 101, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Crimestoppers can also be contacted on the internet via crimestoppers-uk.org.