A LARGE cannabis farm that could be worth up to £100,000 has been found in South Tyneside.
Police discovered 100 plants in two neighbouring flats in Victoria Road East, Hebburn, when they raided the properties on Wednesday, and the forensics team were still working at the site yesterday.
Police say a fully-matured plant can be worth £1,000 and the farm is the fourth to be discovered in the borough in just over a month.
They believe the properties are being rented out, but that no one was living there.
Neighbours described how they could smell the Class B drug coming from the farm.
Adrian Bell, shop manager at Ladbrokes, next door, said: “I’ve never seen anyone going in or out of the flats for ages, so I don’t think anyone lives there.
“A few of our customers and staff members have said that they could smell cannabis, but we didn’t know where it was coming from. It’s unbelievable to think this was going on under our noses the whole time.”
A resident of Victoria Road East, who did not wish to be named, said: “You could really smell it up and down the street but no one knew where it was coming from.
“They’ll have needed a lot of heat to keep the plants growing, and a couple of people noticed that, during the recent weather, it was the only roof in the street with no snow on it.”
The farm was discovered after community officers became suspicious and secured a warrant to search the properties.
Insp Ian King, neighbourhood inspector for Hebburn, said: “This has stopped a significant amount of cannabis from being distributed in our communities.
“We would encourage people to contact us if they suspect a property is being used to produce drugs.
“Tell-tale signs include people arriving at unusual hours, a pungent aroma, blacked-out windows or bright lights coming from a number of windows throughout the night.
“I’d also like to remind landlords just how important it is for them to look for signs of cannabis farms.
“We know from previous experience that those setting up farms often pay a large amount of rent up front.
“It’s vital landlords check on their property regularly.”
Inquiries are ongoing. Anyone with information can call police on 101 ext 69191.