Raids uncover drugs farms

ALMOST 350 suspected cannabis plants with a potential street value of £140,000 have been seized by cops in the past two weeks.

Hartlepool Police’s drugs unit uncovered the hidden class B drugs farms in several properties across the town and arrested five alleged cannabis farmers.

And today officers pledged to continue their crackdown on the Hartlepool drug trade and urged members of the public to continue passing on information to them about offenders.

Acting Sergeant Kimberley Burrell, from the drugs unit, said: “We will always act on credible information about drug production and dealing. Our activity in recent weeks has undoubtedly removed illegal drugs which were destined for the streets of Hartlepool and further afield.

“The District Drugs Unit’s actions send out a firm warning to those who continue to flaunt the law by setting up cannabis productions, and we will continue to seek out those responsible and bring them to justice.

“In many cases, particularly when producing cannabis, people tamper with electricity supplies and this can pose a danger to the property being used as well as to neighbouring homes. This is another good reason for residents to tell us about suspicious activity in their neighbourhood so we can take the appropriate action.”

A total of 348 suspected cannabis plants and equipment associated with growing the drug was seized in the raids in the last two weeks.

On Tuesday, September 27, a house in Annandale Crescent, in West View, was found to have a total of 32 suspected cannabis plants growing in the loft and an outhouse.

A 46-year-old man and a 28-year-old woman were arrested in connection with the find.

The largest discovery took place the next day, Wednesday, September 28, in Stotfold Street, in the town centre, where 220 suspected cannabis plants worth up to £77,000 were found. Both bedrooms and the attic had allegedly been converted into growing areas.

A 62-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of production of cannabis.

On Thursday, September 29, the top two floors of a house in Lowthian Road, also in the town centre, revealed 79 plants and a 26-year-old man was arrested.

And on Monday, 17 suspected cannabis plants with an estimated potential street value of over £6,000 were discovered in an outbuilding when officers used a warrant to search an address in Campbell Road, in Rossmere.

A 46 year old man was arrested on suspicion of production of cannabis.

The suspects remain on police bail pending further inquiries.

Anyone who has any information on drugs can contact police on a 24-hour confidential hotline on (01642) 302181, or the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.