Arrest after police uncover £176k drug farm in Billingham

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A CANNABIS farm estimated to be worth up to £176,000 has been uncovered by police.

Cleveland Police’s Community Drug Enforcement Team (CDET) found the stash of drugs in Billingham on Friday, May 16.

Officers searched a house in Balmoral Avenue and found what are believed to be more than 200 cannabis plants.

A 24-year-old man has been arrested and charged with production of cannabis. He has been remanded to appear in court.

Detective Inspector Christian Ellis, of CDET, said: “The CDET will continue to take action against the production and supply of drugs within the Cleveland Police area.

“If residents have information which could help us tackle the problem of illegal drugs, they can contact us in confidence and directly on 0800 0929 702. Alternatively people can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”

Cleveland Police have also issued a guide to spotting cannabis farms where you live.

Detective Inspector Ellis is asking people to watch out for:

• A strong, sickly smell given off by cannabis plants.

• Cannabis growing equipment being taken into a house, for example, lighting and ventilation equipment.

• Constantly covered or blocked-off windows. Cannabis factories often have constantly pulled curtains or black-out blinds.

• Unsociable coming and going at all hours. Lots of different people visiting the property might be a clue too.

• Strong and constant lighting day and night.

• High levels of heat and condensation. Cannabis factories often give off heat and the windows stay misted up.

• Constant buzz of ventilation. Listen out for a whirring sound as the growers try to create an ideal climate for the plants to grow.

• Lots of power cables. Gangs dig underground to lay cables that hook up to things like lamp posts so they don’t have to pay for the enormous amounts of electricity they use.

He added that cannabis farms pose a danger to the community from unsafe electrical arrangements which could cause fire, and once again urged the public to help police by reporting any suspicions.