Detectives have launched a probe after a cannabis farm, hidden in a secluded rural barn, triggered a blaze involving 60 firefighters.
Eight fire engines and an aerial ladder platform were sent to tackle the blaze in an industrial unit in a converted barn on Ratten Lane, Hutton, near Preston.
It is thought the fire was triggered by an electrical fault linked to the hydroponic set up in one of the three units housed in the old barn.
Officers from Leyland CID found the remains of cannabis plants inside, though it is not clear how much the street value of the plants would have been.
The fire service was alerted at 7.48pm on Tuesday and it took at least four hours to put the blaze out.
Fire crews them had to monitor the building throughout the night to make sure the embers were completely out.
The Evening Post has learnt a man of West Indian descent was at the scene, who claimed he rented the property off the building’s owner, then sublet it to someone else.
It is understood the man drove away from the scene in a car.
Richard Edney, Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service spokesman, said: “ There must have been some obvious signs it was a cannabis growing set up.
“The building is 80 metres by 15 metres. When the first crews arrived they could see flames coming from the side of the bulding. They had to break in and then they realised the whole building was alight and called further resources.”
A hazardous materials unit attended the scene as well as a mobile fire station.
Det Sgt Ian Derbyshire said: “It would appear on further investigation that the property had been used to house what would appear to be a reasonably sized cannabis farm. An investigation is on-going and we would appeal to anyone with any information to come forward and contact us on 101.”