HOUSE FIRE LEADS POLICE TO CANNABIS FACTORY IN LOFT By Vicki Hammond
October 20, 2005
Police raided the property in Longmoors, Priestwood, and found between 200 and 300 cannabis plants after it was linked with a house in Finchampstead where 500 plants had been discovered earlier the same day.
Firefighters discovered the Finchampstead drug factory after they were called to a blaze at a three-bedroom terrace in Firs Close at around 9.30am on Thursday last week.
They were shocked when they burst through the front door of the house to search for trapped residents only to find the property bursting with around 500 marijuana plants and hydroponics equipment.
Detectives searching for the tenant of the Finchampstead property found he was renting a second address in Bracknell and a subsequent investigation led detectives to a house in Priestwood where they found more cannabis plants and equipment.
Police tape surrounded the Priestwood address from midday on Thursday and police offers patrolled the property until Saturday afternoon while it was being searched and the plants and equipment were being removed.
A resident in Longmoors contacted The Times on Thursday afternoon saying there were scenes of crime officers and forensics at a property in his road.
He said: “The officers arrived at midday on Thursday and they were there for three days in the end.
“They were continually going in and out of the property, and they were taking ladders in which they must have been using to get into the loft.
“At first no one knew what was going on but when we found out it was drugs we could not believe it. We did not have a clue that something like that was going on.
“We did not see people going in and out of the property or anything like that – it was quite a shock when we found out what had happened.”
Det Con Phil Mullins, from Wokingham CID, said: “We have been told the Finchampstead fire began in the meter cupboard and I would not be surprised if this is a result of electrical overload due to the equipment used.
“The firefighters were surprised to find so many plants and, now we have been allowed in, we have found a substantial amount.”
Police inquiries into the incident continue and no arrests have been made.
If you have any information contact DC Phil Mullins on (08458) 505 505 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.