Discovery of cannabis den shocks residents of quiet Grimsby street
RESIDENTS of a quiet Grimsby street have spoken of their shock after a police raid uncovered a cannabis factory containing 320 plants.
The upper floor of the semi-detached house on St Nicholas Drive, Wybers Wood, had been completely transformed into five growing areas, containing a mix of juvenile and mature plants – making it difficult for police to estimate the street value of the haul.
It is the latest in a number of high-profile raids in the area.
Yesterday morning, a 39-year-old man of South Asian origin – known colloquially as a "Vietnamese gardener" – was discovered at the property and arrested.
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Later, a second 28-year-old South Asian man was also arrested at the address. Both are currently helping the police with their enquiries.
The discovery – following a tip-off – came as a shock to those living in the well-kept properties nearby, who said they would never have expected it to happen in the area.
The only clue to any activity inside the house was the unkempt front garden and drawn curtains – which also covered the glass front door.
None of those who spoke to the Grimsby Telegraph wished to be named, but said they had "no idea" what had been happening on their doorstep. One woman added: "I am just glad they have found it and shut it down."
The raid is the latest in a series of similar high-profile operations in North East Lincolnshire, which has most recently seen swoops on Westlands in Oxford Street, Cleethorpes, and the resort's Crowhill Avenue, both of which recovered what are thought to be drugs.
Four people arrested at Westlands are on bail until the middle of August, while the two men and a woman arrested following the raid on Crowhill Avenue are on bail until July.
And on Sunday, a suspected cannabis factory was discovered in a house on Humberston Road, Cleethorpes, after a heating lamp caught fire.
In April, two illegal immigrants from Vietnam were jailed for cultivating a £113,000 cannabis factory at a mansion in Barnoldby-le-Beck.
That raid came almost a year after the biggest cannabis seizure in North East Lincolnshire, when 15 upstairs rooms at Healing Manor were found to be filled with cannabis plants. Three illegal Vietnamese immigrants were jailed.
Officers at the scene of the latest raid said it had been the result of an on-going investigation and tip-offs from members of the public, adding that the job of officers would be "very hard" without help from the community.
PC Steve Jones, the beat manager for the Freshney ward, said: "You wouldn't usually think this kind of operation would be set up in a place like this.
"I would like to ask members of the public that if they see anything suspicious, to let us know. Without such information, we might not have known about this place."
Police spokesman James Cartwright added: "Officers found evidence of drug cultivation in a number of rooms within the address which resulted in two arrests and the seizure of a quantity of what is thought to be cannabis from within.
"This incident shows that those involved in the cultivation of drugs aren't bothered about the nature of the area they choose and will gladly set up in more affluent parts of the town in a bid to go unnoticed as they try to go about their illegal business.
"Although this is by no means an everyday find for us, it is important that residents do look out for signs of suspicious activity such as visitors coming and going at all hours, a well-kept garden becoming gradually more overgrown or even a distinct lack of activity or interaction from new neighbours.
"Such signs could be nothing at all but they could also be signs of illegal activity, so it is important that any concerns you may have are reported to police as it could help to focus our attention on a property leading to positive action being taken.
"In this instance, initial concerns were raised which allowed us to investigate and carry out the warrant which resulted in illegal drugs being taken out of circulation before they could be harvested and sold on."
If you suspect a property near you is being used for criminal activity, please call police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.