More than 100 cannabis factories found in five years in Great Yarmouth

Police found £40,000 worth of cannabis following a raid at 39 Nelson Road North in Great Yarmouth. P

Police found £40,000 worth of cannabis following a raid at 39 Nelson Road North in Great Yarmouth. Picture: Joseph Norton - Credit: Archant

More than one hundred cannabis factories have been found in Great Yarmouth over the past five years.

Figures from Norfolk Constabulary show that officers seized approximately 4,500 plants from a total of 103 such operations since 2016.

The number of offences related to cannabis production in the borough have remained mostly stable over that time, with a peak of 22 reported in 2019.

The majority of the farms were found in Great Yarmouth and Gorleston - but some have also been discovered in the surrounding villages including Hopton, Caister and Stokesby.

Police are investigating a cannabis farm on Howard Street in Great Yarmouth. Picture: Daniel Hickey.

Police forensic vans outside the former Oakwood pub on Howard Street South in Great Yarmouth, where a cannabis farm was discovered in March 2020. - Credit: Archant

Thirteen of the farms were smaller in scale, containing no more than two cannabis plants, whereas 18 were found growing more than 100 plants.

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The outcome of the discoveries has varied, with 34 people either charged or summonsed to court and 15 given a caution.

Thirteen of the cases are still under investigation while a further 13 have been closed.

A “well-planned” cannabis factory of over 400 plants has been uncovered by police in Great Yarmouth

Plants inside a cannabis farm on Rampart Road in Great Yarmouth raided by police in February 2019. - Credit: Archant

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Chief Inspector Matt Dyson said: “The number of cannabis factories and farms that we find can often vary in scale. Some can relate to a relatively small number of plants while others can be much larger and more sophisticated in their set-up.

"The latter finds are often linked to organised crime groups involved in other criminal activity."

The chief inspector said that cannabis production offences in the borough have "remained fairly static during the last five years" and that there has been no increase during the coronavirus pandemic.

 “We will always act on information or intelligence around illegal drug activity and, wherever possible, carry out enforcement with a view to prosecuting offenders," he said.

He added: “Residents and businesses can play a role in tackling this too by contacting us if they have information about suspected illegal drug activity.

"Local communities know their area better than anyone else, so are best-placed to see when something or someone looks out of place.”

Signs to spot include:

  • A strong or sickly, sweet smell in the air
  • Buildings with windows constantly blocked off
  • High levels of heat and condensation and the constant buzzing of ventilation
  • Comings and goings from an address in unsociable hours

Anyone with information or concerns about drug activity in their area can contact police on 101 and ask to speak with their local policing team.

Alternatively, you can report 100% anonymously to Crimestoppers by calling 0800 555 111.

Police have sealed off a house on Rampart Road in Great Yarmouth after finding cannabis plants there

Police outside a house on Rampart Road, around the corner from Great Yarmouth's Magistrates Court, where a cannabis farm was discovered in February 2019. - Credit: Archant

Year - Number of crimes related to cannabis production

2016 - 17

2017 - 16

2018 - 18

2019 - 22

2020 - 21

2021 - 9

Extractor fans had been installed in the rooms where the cannabis plants were growing in the house i

Extractor fans had been installed in the rooms where the cannabis plants were growing in the house in Great Yarmouth. - Credit: Archant

Over the past five years, police have seized cannabis plants from properties including rented houses, vacant pubs and disused hotels.

As recently as last month, a gas worker on a meter round discovered a factory on Union Road in Great Yarmouth.

In June, residents of Admiralty Road expressed shock after more than 300 cannabis plants with an approximate street value of more than £250,000 were seized across two neighbouring homes.

Cannabis plants Stokesby

Some of the cannabis plants uncovered at a derelict house in Stokesby. - Credit: Norfolk Police

In January, Stuart Ward, chairman of Stokesby with Herringby Parish Council, said the discovery of a cannabis farm in what is a quiet backwater village was "a real surprise".

Illegal farms have also been found in the derelict Oakwood pub, once a popular night spot on Howard Street South, and the former Europa Hotel on Marine Parade.

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