Officers bust £226,000 college cannabis farm

Police officers took two days to clear out a cannabis factory in Blackpool, such was the scale of the operation.

Wednesday, 7th September 2016, 12:23 pm
Updated Monday, 12th September 2016, 5:19 pm
Property on corner of Rigby Road and Tyldesley Road

Officers found 1,129 plants growing over four floors of the former Britainica College building in Tyldesley Road, when they entered the premises following a call from a member of the public.

Det Sgt Neil Smith of Blackpool CID said a ‘significant quantity’ of the Class B drug had been taken off the streets of the Fylde coast.

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Some of the cannabis plants found in every room of the building

He said: “We uncovered a sophisticated large-scale cannabis set up which contained more than 1,000 cannabis plants at various stages of growth and took two days to dismantle.

“As a result of this find, we have taken a significant quantity of cannabis that would have been destined for our streets out of circulation.”

Police found the cannabis factory shortly before midnight on Friday, following a tip-off about suspicious activity behind the building.

And Det Sgt Smith appealed to members of the public to

Some of the cannabis plants found in every room of the building

keep reporting any suspicious activity to help disrupt

the supply of drugs in the resort.

He added: “If anyone has any information or concerns about cannabis cultivation in their area, we would always urge them to report it to us.

“The public are very often our eyes and ears and we will act on information that is passed on to us to disrupt and ultimately prevent anyone who is involved in the drugs trade from operating on our streets.”

Some of the cannabis plants found in every room of the building

The value of the drugs was estimated in court to be £226,000, but officers were unable to put a figure on the haul yesterday.

A resident in a neighbouring property, who asked not to be named, told The Gazette: “It was unbelievable. Police just kept coming out of the building with more and more and more.

“It seemed never-ending.

“I wouldn’t have had a clue anything untoward was going on there. I think I only ever saw someone going in the building once.

Some of the cannabis plants found in every room of the building

“It’s been unused for some time.

“I know there’s been a lot of this sort of thing going on in unused hotels, you just never expect it to be going on under your nose.

“Police seemed pretty happy with their haul.”

A spokeswoman for Lancashire Police added: “Officers discovered a large-scale cannabis farm. They found the majority of rooms in the building being used to grow plants

“This was a large set up and it took police two days to dismantle the cannabis factory, and to remove all of the plants.

“They plants were in various stages of growth.”

Some of the cannabis plants found in every room of the building

Cannabis is classified as a Class B drug in the UK, with anyone caught in possession of it facing up to five years in prison, an unlimited fine or both.

Anyone caught supplying or producing the drug faces up to 14 years in prison, an unlimited fine or both.

n A man accused of having a cannabis factory in the former college building has made his first appearance at court.

Xuan Nguyen, who was born in Vietnam, is alleged to have been growing 1,129 cannabis plants at the old Britainica College in Tyldesley Road.

Nguyen, 31, formerly of Tyldesley Road, Blackpool, now of no fixed address, is charged with producing a large quantity of the Class B drug on September 2 this year.

The court proceedings were relayed to him in Vietnamese by a translator.

Andrea Fawcett, prosecuting, asked for the case to be heard at crown court and Nguyen to be remanded in custody.

Defence lawyer, Brett Chappell, said his client would not indicate a plea to the offence at this stage.

Nguyen was remanded in custody to appear at Preston Crown Court on October 11 by Blackpool magistrates.

Some of the cannabis plants found in every room of the building