Cannabis ‘factory’ found during drug gang swoops

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A secret cannabis factory worth more than £400,000 has been discovered by police during a crackdown on drug gangs in Preston.

Officers from Operation Nemesis swooped on a house in a leafy residential street in the city to find at least 500 illegal plants under cultivation.

The entire four-bedroomed riverside property on the corner of Bird Street and Broadgate had been converted into a drug farm with an elaborate heating, lighting and extraction system. The haul is one of the largest ever discovered in Preston.

“This is a significant find,” said Det Insp Warren Atkinson. “There were in excess of 500 cannabis plants in there in various stages of growth. It was a sophisticated set-up and worth a lot of money.”

A police team working on Operation Nemesis discovered the haul during a series of raids carried out on various addresses across the city. Most of the houses were targeted after members of the public reported suspicious activity in their neighbourhood.

The large property in Bird Street was unoccupied and contained rows of pots crammed into rooms both downstairs and upstairs. Expensive heat lamps and extraction ducting were fitted in every room.

Electricity engineers had to be called to the premises to disconnect what was believed to be an illicit supply, rigged from the cellar and powering the operation around the clock.

Police removed hundreds of plants ranging from seedlings to fully grown. The entire haul will now be destroyed, along with the equipment used to cultivate it.

A 29-year-old Preston man has been arrested and charged with producing controlled drugs.