Tuesday 16 July 2024
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£1 million cannabis factory found in old Marks and Spencer shop

Officers from the Buxton Safer Neighbourhood Policing Team found a large scale cannabis grow following a warrant at a former shop unit in the Spring Gardens.

The set up spanned over multiple floors and approximately 975 plants were discovered.

They were found in part of the old Marks and Spencer’s building on the Spring Gardens during a warrant by the local Safer Neighbourhood policing team on Monday 25 September.

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An investigation is now ongoing and further enquiries are being carried out.

A 34-year-old man, believed to be an Albanian national, was arrested on suspicion of cannabis cultivation and immigration offences.

He has now been handed over to the immigration authorities and referral has been made to the Home Office which will further investigate if he may be the victim of modern-day slavery.

It’s part of an ongoing long-term operation to target serious and organised crime in the local area, known as Project Unity.

Project Unity brings together many different local agencies with the aim of working together to address the issues using the ‘Clear, Hold, Build’ method from the Home Office.

The ‘Clear’ approach will see intelligence-led police activity in the area, aiming to disrupt criminal groups and the supply of illegal drugs.

Sergeant Patrick Haley, of the Buxton Safer Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “Through information we received from the local community we discovered a large, sophisticated cannabis grow which has now been dismantled and seized.

“We would like to thank the public for their continued support, and we would encourage people to report their concerns and information about drug misuse to us.”

Some of the signs that cannabis is being grown, which you may be able to spot, include:

  • Strange smells and sounds.
  • Frequent and varied visitors to a property, often at unusual times.
  • Gardening equipment being taken into a building or 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.

Sgt. Haley added: “While some people may think that cannabis use causes no real harm to others, the reality is that behind the scenes there can be links to organised criminality, violence and the exploitation of vulnerable individuals. Illegal cannabis grows often also put others in danger, posing a risk of fire, flood or damage.

“We are committed to targeting crime and taking proactive action to tackle drug production and cut out its supply to ensure our area is a safe place to live, work and visit.”

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