Village cannabis factory shock
Laura Bagshaw POLICE in Great Yarmouth are winning the war against drug gangs who are targeting the town's properties to harvest cannabis. As officers uncovered another massive haul of 972 cannabis plants in Caister this week, estimated to be worth about �60,000, police said they were fast on the trail of drug mobs following a string of high-profile finds.
POLICE in Great Yarmouth are winning the war against drug gangs who are targeting the town's properties to harvest cannabis.
As officers uncovered another massive haul of 972 cannabis plants in Caister this week, estimated to be worth about �60,000, police said they were fast on the trail of drug mobs following a string of high-profile finds.
It comes just two weeks after police raided the Waverley Hotel, on Princes Road, Yarmouth, where an entire wing was devoted to cultivating 1,580 cannabis plants.
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Sgt Andy Brown, of the Caister safer neighbourhood team said it might seem Yarmouth was being targeted by the criminals but the fact was the resort, like many places across the country, had always had drug factories operating behind closed doors.
“The problem has always been there, it's just people are becoming more aware of it. This is a national problem, not specific to Yarmouth,” he said.
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Drug dens uncovered by police last year included two terraced houses in Anson Road, Southtown, and St George's Road, Yarmouth. More recently there has been a change in tactics by the drug mobs who have targeted business premises such as the former Platform Scaffolding Services building, on Gordon Road, Southtown, where more than 700 cannabis plants were found in December.
Sgt Brown said it was possible drug gangs were moving away from terraced properties in Yarmouth as the public became more savvy - picking up on the tell-tale signs of closed curtains and condensation on windows.
And the sophistication of these operations has astonished officers. Electrical systems are totally rewired to illegally siphon electricity from the network and hi-tech ventilation systems cut into the ceiling leading to the loft to curb the powerful smell.
“These are well-engineered operations,” said Sgt Brown, “and dare I say there is a degree of intelligence and skill involved in setting them up. Certainly there are a lot of fertilising chemicals mixed to feed the plants.”
The people behind the gangs will seldom visit the factories, instead employing gardeners to look after the plants. “Generally they have a living space in a downstairs room and these people look after the address and make sure plants are fed and watered.”
Sgt Brown urges letting agencies to check references and identification for people, who may give false details.
Members of the public who spot anything unusual are urged to contact police on 0845 456 4567.