Police have uncovered a cannabis farm which had the capacity to produce around £120,000 worth of the drug every year in a house on a quiet street in Newton-le-Willows.
Officers executed a warrant at a property in Hope Street at around 12.30pm on Monday.
They found the plants in a bedroom which had been converted for the growing of cannabis, with a number of plants in various stages of growth.
The farm would have had an estimated annual yield of around £120,000.
Neighbourhood patrols attended to remove the plants and growing equipment. The electricity was also found to have been illegally bypassed.
Sgt Gerard Farley said: “Officers have taken action and prevented criminals from making any further financial gain from this property.
“Cannabis cultivation by criminal gangs can cause serious harm in our communities. Criminal groups involved in the cultivation of cannabis are usually involved in other serious organised crime and they often rent properties such as this.
“The growing of cannabis also brings dangers to neighbouring properties because cannabis farms are a serious fire risk. The people who set up these farms often tamper with the electricity meters to steal electricity, and there will generally be a number of hot lamps hooked to overloaded electricity sockets as well as an extensive watering system.
“Electricity and water are never a good combination, and the fire service have seen an increase in the number of fires they have been called to as a result of fires caused by the crude systems put in place by the people who set up these farms.
“Our communities can help us stop these groups, who are only interested in making money, from turning houses and flats into potential death traps. Nobody wants to live next door to these houses and we would ask that if you believe someone is using a property for this purpose, please tell us so we can take positive action and find those responsible for setting them up.”
Some of the signs that cannabis is being grown are:
• Strange smells and sounds
• Frequent and varied visitors to a property, often at unusual times
• Gardening equipment being taken into a property, such as plant pots, fertiliser, fans and industrial lighting
• Windows are sealed and covered or the curtains are permanently closed
• Heat from an adjoining property
• Birds gathering on a roof in cold weather
• Individually these activities may seem commonplace, however, together may indicate something more sinister
No-one has been arrested.
Anyone with any information can call police on 101, or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.