Police hunt drug farmers

A HUNT is on today for cannabis cultivators who were running a lucrative operation in an Ipswich house.

Simon Tomlinson

A HUNT is on today for cannabis cultivators who were running a lucrative operation in an Ipswich house.

The latest source in the drugs supply chain has been nipped in the bud by police who seized 300 plants from a property in Robeck Road.

Detectives are now turning their efforts to catching the masterminds behind the illegal business, which had a potential turnover of around £1million a year.

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Officers executed a warrant yesterday morning and discovered mature plants in most of the rooms, although no-one was found inside the house.

Around half of the plants, used to produce a stronger form of the class C drug called skunk, had already been harvested with an estimated street value of £120,000.

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Drugs teams from Suffolk Police also found sophisticated growing equipment including ultra-violet lamps, irrigation systems and fertilisers.

Electricity to the house had been bypassed around the fuse box to generate a higher current, which posed a serious risk of fire to the public and the investigating officers.

Engineers in a JCB were brought in to dig down in search of the mains supply to cut off power to the semi-detached house and electricians made sure the wiring inside was safe.

Officers also wore protective equipment when entering the house to safeguard them from the plant spores which can cause lung problems.

Acting sergeant Andy Moore said: “It is a typical cannabis factory which attempts to reproduce a normal growing environment. Our primary concern is for the public's safety and our own safety.”

Yesterday's bust was the third in the Ipswich area in a week, with around 900 plants being seized since last Friday.

Last week, officers found a similar factory in a house in Whitton Church Lane in Ipswich and another containing 200 plants in Martlesham Heath.

Le Thi Anh, 34, of Whitton Church Lane, Ipswich is currently in custody after appearing at South East Suffolk Magistrates' Court, Ipswich, and is to appear at Ipswich Crown Court on a on a date which is yet to be set, on charges of suspicion of cultivation of cannabis in connection with the raid on a house in Whitton Church Lane Friday.

Sgt Moore said: “Suffolk Police will not tolerate drugs in Ipswich. We have the capacity to deal with the influx of cannabis factories and we will be proactive in preventing them from being set up.”

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