One of Britain’s largest cannabis factories found in Grade II building

One of Britain’s largest ever cannabis factories with a crop worth £3m has been discovered in a Grade II listed Victorian building.

Officers raided Haliburton House in West Bromwich, West Mids., which dates back to the 1870s, on July 14.

A utilities company became suspicious after they noticed the property’s high electricity consumption.

Police were called and a drugs squad found the massive pot farm – believed to be linked to organised crime.

A video tour of the premises from West Midlands Police reveals thousands of cannabis plants on all three floors of the old factory.

The footage shows cannabis plants in full bud sat in individual pots with fertiliser below.

Six hundred watt lights hang above illegally connected to the main by masses of illegally wiring.

Such drug equipment worth thousands of pounds was also seized.

The operation is thought to have been running for at least six months.

The haul was destroyed once the asbestos-ridden building was made safe – both the drugs and the property were contaminated with the toxic material.

A West Midlands Police spokesperson said: “We’ve uncovered one of the largest cannabis factories ever found in the West Midlands with a £3million crop hidden inside an historic factory building.

“Officers came across the farm concealed within Haliburton House in Hall Street South, West Bromwich – a Victorian industrial building dating back to the 1870s that was previously home to a metal manufacturing firm.

“Thousands of plants, many approaching maturity and harvest ready, were being cultivated throughout the Grade II listed property.

“And it’s estimated the crop was worth up to £3million.

“It was discovered back on 14 July when a utilities company reported their suspicions after seeing a surge in electricity usage at the historic building.

“Our specialist Cannabis Disposal Team was not able to clear the site immediately due to an asbestos warning − but after working with a specialist contractor the building was made safe and the drugs removed for destruction.”

West Midlands Police Detective Inspector Ade George, said: “We strongly suspect this drugs factory, given the scale, is linked to serious organised crime.

“It’s a big win for us and its discovery, especially as the crop was nearing harvest, will be a significant dent in the finances of the crime group involved.

“We’ve seized several million pounds worth of drugs plus equipment also costing tens of thousands of pounds.

“A drugs factory of this size, with all the modifications, takes a lot of time and effort; I would suggest it has been in operation for around six months. There is also clear evidence of living quarters within the property.

“No-one has been arrested at this stage but our enquiries into who was behind the factory are underway – and I’d urge anyone with information to get in contact.”

Cannabis Disposal Team Manager, Inspector Scott Shaw, added: “The construction of the cannabis farm disturbed asbestos construction material in the building; both the plants and property were contaminated as a result.

“We worked with the Health and Safety Executive and specialist contractors to clear the site and make it safe.

“The health hazards for anyone working in this environment are very clear − but there would also have been a serious danger to anyone using asbestos contaminated drugs.

“Discovering this drugs factory will have had struck a significant financial blow to the organised criminals behind it but it’s also protected members of our communities from very serious harm.”

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