‘Major cannabis factory’ found inside disused Kent office block


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The Independent Online

A sophisticated cannabis factory that produced up to £4m worth of the drug has been discovered inside a derelict building in Dartford, Kent.

Up to 6,000 cannabis plants were found in the empty office block near the centre of town in West Hill, following a tip-off on Monday when a member of the public saw someone clambering in through a window.

Police estimate the drug factory, which included extensive lighting and ventilation equipment, produced cannabis estimated at between £2m and £4m. Ian Learmonth, the chief constable of Kent Police, said it was unclear whether the drugs were intended to be used on the county’s streets or elsewhere.

As well as a number of mattresses on the floor, police discovered rooms piled high with leftover soil, empty soil bags and containers of chemicals required to cultivate cannabis on an industrial scale.

Mr Learmonth said the shutting down of the operation marked a major blow to drug dealers and users. No arrests have yet been made and it is not yet clear who owns the property.

“This is a major drugs supply operation and while we don’t yet know whether these drugs were to be used on Kent streets or further afield, stripping down an operation of this size will undoubtedly make a big impact on  the county’s drug network,” Mr Learmonth said.

Officers will remain on the scene for a number of days dismantling the factory and gathering evidence.