Belfast Telegraph

Friday 19 September 2014

Heat is on for cannabis farmers

A 28-year-old man was later arrested and charged with cannabis cultivation

A cannabis farmer was caught out when his secret work was revealed by a special heat-detecting camera mounted on a police helicopter.

West Midlands Police has released footage of the moment the farm was discovered more than 150ft up on the 10th storey of a Birmingham block of flats.

When officers raided the flat in Nechells' South Tower, officers found 143 cannabis plants inside worth £30,000.

The climate-controlled high-temperature environment needed to grow the plants was spotted by the helicopter crew as they headed back to base following a search in another part of the city in May.

A 28-year-old man was later arrested and charged with cannabis cultivation.

He was sentenced to two years in jail, suspended for two years and ordered to attend a drugs rehabilitation course.

West Midlands Police's deputy air operations manager Martin Knowles said: "The crew were heading back from a search in the Solihull area when they noticed a clear heat source at a flat in Nechells.

"Our thermal cameras can detect unusually high temperatures coming from properties several thousand feet away.

"Anyone growing cannabis on a commercial scale, using rows of heat lamps, runs the very real risk their criminality will be rumbled from the skies."

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