Belfast Telegraph

£60k underground cannabis factory is busted by police

By Lesley Houston

Police have released images of the dramatic moment they uncovered an underground cannabis factory in Co Londonderry.

The pictures, which reveal the amazing lengths people involved in the illicit drugs trade will go to hide their contraband, show some of the 120 cannabis plants worth £60,000 which were discovered on Tuesday near Maghera.

The plants were contained within three containers dug into the ground.

The drugs were discovered when police searched premises at Moneysharvin Road following an earlier search of a car in Coleraine when a small amount of cannabis was found.

Detective Sergeant Kelly Gallagher from the PSNI in Coleraine explained how the discovery of the underground drugs factory came about following an arrest on Sunday.

"A routine road stop was conducted of a vehicle at Portstewart Road, Coleraine, and a small amount of cannabis was found during a search of the vehicle, which was being driven by 47-year-old man," she said.

"A search was then conducted at an address near Maghera, and a man aged 22 was also arrested for possession of cannabis.

"A search of the surrounding land uncovered an underground cannabis factory contained within three containers that had been dug into the ground," the officer revealed.

Two men have been bailed in connection with the find.

DUP councillor James Shiels said it was the second large find of cannabis plants in the Maghera area in recent times.

"Drugs are a scourge in our society and I am extremely worried about the rise in drug-related activity and significant drug finds in the area," he said.

"I will be raising this issue with PSNI officers as a matter of urgency."

The drugs find follows a similar discovery in Castlewellan in May 2013, when 600 cannabis plants were found in three purpose-built underground rooms at Derryneill Road.

The drugs had a street value of around £350,000 in a discovery never before encountered in Northern Ireland.

Mark Cavanagh (40), of India Street in Belfast's Holylands area, received a five-year, seven-month jail sentence in connection to that operation.


Number of cannabis plants found during raid on Maghera drug farm

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