Two cannabis factories uncovered a stone's throw apart in quiet Norfolk village
PUBLISHED: 19:10 20 December 2018 | UPDATED: 19:10 20 December 2018
A rural Norfolk village turned to a hive of police activity as two sophisticated cannabis factories have been unearthed in just 48 hours.
Officers had descended on Felthorpe already this year, as one of the largest cannabis factories ever found in the county was discovered there in April.
And this week, just a stone’s throw apart, police have dismantled two more factories, which they do not believe are connected.
Combined, around 750 plants with a street value of £300,000 have been seized, and two men arrested.
Around 30 officers carried out raids this morning (WED) at a home in Felthorpe and two agricultural buildings in Horsford.
All three properties have the same owner, and a man connected with the property, on Brands Lane, has been arrested.
A man in his 30s, believed to be the gardener who had been living at the house, was also arrested.
In total five rooms were being utilised for cannabis grows, as the entire home had been given over to production.
Sgt Toby Gosden, of the North Norfolk neighbourhood policing team, said it was “bizarre” so many factories were being found in the same village.
“I think purely it is because it is rural with lots of outbuildings and farms,” he said. “When you are looking to set up a cannabis factory you are reliant on people not discovering it.”
Sgt Gosden said various intelligence, including from the community, led them to raid three “linked” properties, all owned by the same person.
“Apart from one male living here as gardener this house was purely dedicated to the growing of cannabis,” he said. “We have a nursery room and another room the next step up, and three further rooms full of plants probably a couple of months old.”
The electricity to the property has been cut and officers spent the day removing plants, filter systems, pilot lights and hydration systems.
Sgt Gosden added the team are targeting cannabis due to the associated crime surrounding the trade.
“The problem is this is organised crime,” he said.
“We see how much money goes into setting up one of these factories, but we do not know where that money is going or who the drugs are being supplied to.
“While it is still a criminal offence to produce cannabis we will target premises where we believe grows are taking place.”
Cannabis in Felthorpe
Felthorpe has already been the scene of one of Norfolk’s largest ever cannabis finds.
In April officers discovered more than 4,000 plants at an abandoned garden centre on Holt Road.
They had been directed to the building by a dog walker who smelled cannabis.
Plants were being grown in a number of old sheds and greenhouses - siphoning off electricity in the process - which raised the suspicions of the landowner.
And on Monday evening, officers attended an outbuilding in Mill Lane at approximately 9pm and found around 500 cannabis plants at different stages of growth.
The haul is estimated to be worth around £200,000.
A seal has put in place at the address and is expected to remain until Friday.
No arrests have been made.
Officers are at the early stages of their investigation and are appealing for anyone who may have seen anything suspicious in the area or have information to contact Norfolk Police on 101 and quote CAD reference 456 of 17 December 2018.
Alternatively, they can contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.