Belfast Telegraph

Police thwart cannabis factory

Detectives have been congratulated after a raid on a Bangor cannabis factory netted £500,000-worth of the drug.

Detectives from the PSNI’s Organised Crime Branch uncovered and shut down the cannabis factory following an intelligence-led operation. The plants were discovered at a private property on the Newtownards Road in Bangor on July 16.

According to the PSNI, the property had a considerable amount of heating and lighting equipment, which is known to be used in hydroponics — a method adopted by organised crime gangs to grow large amounts of cannabis plants.

Detective Inspector Douglas Grant said while a substantial amount of drugs have now been removed from the streets, cannabis factories like this pose a serious health risk to the public.

“We have taken a huge amount of drugs out of circulation, and believe today’s actions may have saved lives and prevented substantial damage to property. The equipment these criminals were using was installed in a dangerous manner, which exposed the property, adjoining properties, and members of the local community to the danger of fire,” he said.

“It is important for members of the community to report any suspicious activity to police. If a house or any other type of dwelling near you has blackened windows or is giving off a pungent smell, or there are people coming and going from the property at strange times of the day, there could be cannabis growing inside.

“It is also important that private landlords carry out thorough checks on their tenants, as organised crime gangs use rental properties for cannabis factories.”

He advised landlords to check out or call their local Crime Prevention Officer for further advice.

North Down MLA Peter Weir said: “Raids such as this do not happen by accident, and are the result of many hours of painstaking behind the scenes police work. It is highly satisfying to see this work bear dividends. The scale of the find shows that this is part of a major criminal operation, and this has disrupted serious crime in the Bangor area.

“Some people are dismissive of the effects of cannabis, but as well as leading to long-term health damage, cannabis can also be a passport drug to other illegal substances.”

Belfast Telegraph

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