Cops find haul of cannabis in ex-police station after bungling drug dealers spark huge…
December 22, 2022, 5:28 pm | Updated December 22, 2022 at 5:45 p.m
Police officers discovered a “million pound” cannabis farm in an old police station after a botched attempt by drug dealers to steal electricity to grow crops resulted in its door being broken down by firefighters.
Emergency services were called on Tuesday after smoke poured out of the basement of the former police station on Streatham High Road.
When firefighters entered, they were faced with “a number of cannabis plants,” according to a Metropolitan Police spokesman, and now Scotland Yard detectives have launched an investigation, but no arrests have yet been made.
Five fire engines and a task force unit, as well as uniformed and plainclothes police officers and several ambulances were on duty in the incident.
A worker at a local business told LBC a police officer said the former station contained “a million pounds worth of weeds” and informed them they had removed “plants bigger than you”.
Local residents were told the fire was caused by someone attempting to ‘tap’ a power line.
A witness who spoke to LBC said someone “banged into the power lines and tampered with all kinds of lights,” which was then the cause of the fire that alerted emergency services and led to the downfall of the nascent drug empire.
On Thursday, a UK Power Network sign outside the former police station said there had been an “emergency power shutdown” and a company spokesman told LBC they would normally do this at the request of emergency services.
In September, a man was sentenced to two years in prison after pleading guilty to growing cannabis worth around £1million on a farm in a Cheshire courthouse, just yards from the police station.
And it’s not the first time a former police station has been used for drug cultivation, as in July a large cannabis factory was discovered in a former east London police station that had been closed five months earlier.
The Met Police sold the building in late February, the Evening Standard reported. but as of July, the land registry still said the building belonged to the Mayor’s Office of Police and Crime and did not name a new owner.
In 2019, Direct Line uncovered nearly a quarter of electricity theft investigations that police suspected it was stolen to grow or manufacture illegal drugs
In almost 23 percent of the cases, the police suspected electricity theft for the cultivation or manufacture of illegal drugs.
The group Stay Energy Safe warns that illegal cannabis farms can be a “dangerous place” due to the often illegal connections to the power grid.
Their website states that cannabis requires energy internally to grow. “A lot of energy. In fact, cannabis farms typically use around 12,000 kWh (kilowatt hours) of electricity per month — four times the average household consumption in a year.”
“Because tampering with or bypassing a meter is so dangerous, it is important that any suspected energy theft is reported to avoid tragic human consequences,” Stay Energy Safe said.
“Anyone who tampers with their meter commits a criminal offence,” the information notes, adding that possible penalties include “significant fines and imprisonment up to a maximum of five years.”
A Met Police spokesman told LBC: “Officers were called to Streatham High Road at 4:52pm on Tuesday December 20 at the junction with Shrubbery Road to receive reports of a fire at the old police station.
“London Fire Brigade were at the fire and put it out.
“No injuries were reported.
“A number of cannabis plants were discovered inside the building.
“One crime scene remains and the incident is being investigated by Central South CID detectives.
“There were no arrests and the investigation is ongoing.”
Anyone with information that may assist police is asked to call 101 or tweet @MetCC and quote CAD5251/20Dec; You can also submit information anonymously to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.