Four arrests after police swoop on South Tyneside drugs farm

RAID ... police at a property in Chichester Road, South Shields, where a drugs farm was discovered.
RAID ... police at a property in Chichester Road, South Shields, where a drugs farm was discovered.

A CANNABIS farm at a house in South Tyneside has been smashed by police after a tip-off from a nearby resident.

Police, who were alerted by a phone call, swooped on the flat in Chichester Road, South Shields, in the early hours of yesterday.

Inside, they discovered more than 16 cannabis plants.

Four people have been arrested on suspicion of cultivating cannabis and were last night being quizzed by police.

Neighbourhood Inspector Peter Sutton said the operation was a good example of the police and community working together.

He said: “This was a direct result of information passed to us from a member of the public and shows what can be achieved when the police and public work together.

“We actively encourage anyone who has suspicions of drug use happening in their area to contact us or speak to their neighbourhood police officers.” In the last 12 months, tip-offs from residents helped police smash a number of cannabis farms throughout South Tyneside – helping to stop about £1m of the Class B drug reaching the streets.

In January, officers raided a property in Mortimer Road, South Shields after being tipped off by people of “suspicious behaviour.”

Inside the loft, they found about 100 plants – with a potential value of £100,000 – and lighting equipment.

A week earlier, 100 plants were found in two neighbouring flats in Victoria Road East, Hebburn, and more than 100 plants – between 3ft and 4ft high – were seized from a flat in Thornton Avenue, South Shields, the same month.

In December, more than 150 plants and lighting equipment were seized from the loft of a flat in Talbot Road in the West Park area of South Shields, and a week later police raided an upstairs flat in Westcott Road, South Shields, where 80 plants were found.

The biggest find so far however was at a three-storey home in Sunderland Road, Westoe Village, South Shields, in February.

Two floors of cannabis plants, worth about £500,000 were found in the rented house – just yards from Harton Police Station – that police said was the biggest farm they had ever seen in the borough.

Inside the five-bedroom property, officers found two floors full of fully-grown cannabis plants, and all the equipment to grow them, and a nursery with smaller plants was found in the basement.

Insp Sutton added: “People can be assured we take the issue of drugs extremely seriously, and where information is passed to us, we will take the appropriate actions.”

Anyone with information about drugs in South Tyneside is asked to call police on 101 ext 69191 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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