Huge million-pound cannabis farm discovered in former nightclub

A huge £1million cannabis factory has been discovered inside a former nightclub with thousands of plants growing across three floors.

Police were stunned to find more than 1,000 cannabis plants on the dancefloors when they raided the former nightspot in Coventry.

National Crime Agency (NCA) officers smashed their way through several reinforced doors to access the massive grow on Thursday.

As well as the plants officers recovered sophisticated planting, growing and irrigation equipment, valued at around £150,000.

Three men were arrested. Two were detained with the assistance of a police drone unit as they attempted to flee the venue.

NCA branch Commander Adam Warnock said: “This is a significant drug seizure which will have a huge impact on the organised crime groups involved, depriving them of commodity and profit.

“The size of the cannabis factory was significant and sophisticated, spread across three floors of a large building. It is certainly one of the largest grows ever uncovered by the NCA.

“Operations like this underline the value and power of working with law enforcement partners like West Midlands Police to take down high-harm criminals.

“Our investigation into this seizure continues.”

All three men were subsequently charged with production of a class B drug.

Albanian national Andi Qani, 24,and Vietnamese national Cao Van Vu, 31, appeared before Coventry Magistrates Court on Friday .

They were remanded in custody until their next court appearance at Warwick Crown Court on November 12.

The third man, Albanian national Adrian Lieshaj, 28, was found to be wanted by German authorities for robbery offences and is the subject of a European Arrest Warrant.

He was taken to Westminster Magistrates Court on Friday in order for the extradition matter to be heard.

The operation was supported by officers from the West Midlands Police Cannabis Disruption Team.

Ch Supt Lee Wharmby, head of West Midlands Police’s Operations department, said: “Our pilots helped detain two people using our state-of-the art drones equipped with thermal imaging cameras.

“It’s always great when we can help out a partner agency. Our job is to protect the public and drones are invaluable to us.”