Cannabis factory in Hartshill raided by police
POLICE have shut down a huge drug production operation after raiding a house containing a 'significant' amount of cannabis.
A team of seven officers swooped on the rented property in Hartshill following tip-offs from the community.
Most of the upstairs floor and the loft of the house in Hartshilll Road were being used to cultivate the class B drug.
But the house was empty and police are now sifting through information in a bid to catch those behind the operation.
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Neighbours and community leaders told of their surprise after hearing about the raid on Thursday evening.
Councillor Shaun Pender who represents the Penkhull and Stoke ward said: "The raid has come as a bit of a shock to me and the residents in the community.
"It is really unusual for this type of activity to be taking place in Hartshill area.
"But I think the scale of this raid shows how effective the police are in dealing with issues like this, and they need to be commended for the swift and efficient manner in which they have dealt with this issue."
Officers had to force entry into the house through the back door after the front door had been blocked from the inside.
They then uncovered a large hoard of the drug that was being grown in the house.
A police officer taking part in the raid spoke about the incident on Twitter.
The officer, who posts messages under the name 'PenkhullPC', wrote: "I had to crawl through a very small hole to access the loft in case the gardener was hiding there. Got stuck in the eaves. Pulled out by feet. Now covered in 50 years of dust."
Barbara Andrew, chairman of Hartshill and Harpfield Residents Association, said: "It comes as a surprise and disappointment to hear of the drugs raid in Hartshill.
"I think it is unsettling to realise that this kind of crime is happening so close to home. We are a low-crime area and we want it to stay that way."
Police told how the whole top floor of the property apart from one bedroom had been used for cannabis production. There were also plants being grown in the loft space with live wires hanging down.
A spokesman for Staffordshire Police said: "Following information received by the force, police executed a warrant on a property in Hartshill Road.
"It is clear that somebody had been staying at the property, but nobody was found at the premises."
The spokesman added that the house was being rented and officers would now be making attempts to contact the landlord.
Councillor Pender said: "This was a serious operation that has taken place in a city where drug production is a wide-spread problem.
"I think it raises the need for landlords to be more vigilant."
Police did not detail the number of plants recovered, but a spokesman referred to a 'significant quantity.' He added that photographs of the haul were taken but cannot be released for 'evidential reasons'.
No arrests have yet been made.