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Police raid West Dorset cannabis factory and seize £5,000 worth of plants
POLICE made a ‘significant’ find of cannabis plants at a West Dorset business yesterday – worth around £5,000.
Officers broke into a garage and storage building near Beaminster and found a ‘skunk’ factory, where the plants were being cultivated.
Executing a warrant under the Misuse of Drugs Act, nine officers from across the county took part in a meticulously planned operation based around the premises in a quiet lane leading from the Broadwindsor road towards Stoke Abbott.
Sgt Gary Hole of Dorset Police Operational Support Command who led the raid said that the operation had had a ‘positive” result.
“Cannabis is being cultivated here, but there was nobody on the premises. Our inquiries continue.
“This is a significant find and it was intelligence from the local community which led us here.”
Police discovered eight healthy plants of the pungent skunk variety growing under powerful electric lights in a room on an upper floor of the building.
The ground floor appeared to be used for storing furniture. A container and lorry parked in the yard sealed by large, bolted metal gates also formed part of the police searches.
Police seized the cultivation equipment and the plants which will be forensically tested.
The crop is likely to be worth about £5,000.
Bridport Inspector Mike Darby said: “The cultivation of cannabis is a serious offence and one that carries significant prison sentences upon conviction.
“Cultivation on any scale is a well planned and organised enterprise and one we don’t often see in this part of West Dorset, however Bridport Police alongside our specialist colleagues in Dorset Police will act and deal robustly with anyone growing, selling and distributing drugs within our communities and will go to great lengths to put a stop to these types of criminal activities.
“The cultivation of cannabis is fraught with dangers, most significantly from the amount of electricity and water used in the growing process and the risk of fire or electrocution to people growing the plants is significant.
“Additionally it is relatively easy for us to find people who do it. The smell of the plants during the long extended growing process is often hard to disguise from the rest of the street and your neighbours over months.
“The amount of electricity a house or premises is using is way above the normal levels used to heat the plants to the required level, and due to this the amount of heat premises’ loose through vents and roofs is huge.
“Our police helicopter with its sophisticated heat detection radar finds it far too easy in identifying addresses used for this activity as they glow like a beacon at night time under heat seeking equipment. “The odds are stacked against anyone thinking of growing cannabis and thinking they can get away with it for any length of time.
“This is the second cannabis factory we have raided in Bridport Section in the last six months, the first one being at Thorncombe where hundreds of plants were being grown.
“Clearly some people think this is an easy and risk free way of committing crime and making money, however we are here to ensure it isn’t and would appeal to anyone who knows or suspects any premises being used for this purpose to contact us at Bridport Police.”
Skunk is so-called because of the pungent odour it emits while growing.
Skunk and other similar varieties are characterised by being grown indoors, either under grow lights or in greenhouse conditions using 'hydroponic' techniques - that is growing plants in nutrient-rich liquids rather than in soil.
'Traditional' herbal cannabis ranges from between two and four per cent THC content. The more potent varieties average between 10 and 14 per cent.