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Drug den uncovered after gas leak scare

PUBLISHED: 16:50 02 June 2009 | UPDATED: 10:59 11 August 2010

POLICE made a surprise find when they were called to reports of a gas leak and found a full blown cannabis factory instead. Officers from Chadwell Heath safer neighbourhood team smashed in the door of a flat in Tenby Road after a worried neighbour thought

POLICE made a surprise find when they were called to reports of a gas leak and found a full blown cannabis factory instead.

Officers from Chadwell Heath safer neighbourhood team smashed in the door of a flat in Tenby Road after a worried neighbour thought they could smell gas in the street outside.

In fact the overpowering scent turned out to be 160 mature cannabis plants - with a street drug value of around £100,000.

The tiny first floor flat had been completely gutted and every room was stuffed with drug growing equipment and plants, police believe no-one had lived there for at least four months.

There was reflective sheeting on the walls and floor in order to capture as much heat as possible and make the marijuana grow faster.

Police also found the leaseholders had bypassed the electricity and gas mains and were running a heavy duty lighting system 20 hours a day.

PC Martin Jones said: "One hundred plants take around seven weeks to mature.

"The cannabis we found was ready to be cultivated and distributed but thankfully we have now taken it off the streets.

"We do not know how long the factory had been operating but it could have been at least four months.

"That was the last time the landlord inspected the property."

Police were called in the early hours of Monday May 18 to the house in Tenby Road, Chadwell Heath.

While at the scene officers noticed a Vauxhall Zafira which had been noted outside the property many times before.

The driver and passenger were both arrested but have not been charged.

PC Jones said: "I would like to ask members of the public to always report suspicious behaviour to the police.

"Especially if you see cars frequently arriving at a property you know to be empty.

"Be vigilant about your neighbourhood.

"Look for things like curtains not being drawn as an indication that no-one is living in that house or flat."

PC Jones and Sergeant Geoff Waddoups made the incredible find.

The flat was fully investigated and the cannabis plants were put into bags and seized as evidence.

They will eventually be forfeited and destroyed.

If you have witnessed any unusual activity in your street call your nearest safer neighbourhood team (SNT) or the Metropolitan police on 0300 123 1212. Chadwell Heath SNT can be reached on 020 8721 2902.


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