Last Updated on January 14, 2009 by Mark Lavington
Crime Gangs Target Second Homes And Holiday Cottages To House Cannabis Factories. Holiday Home Used As Cannabis Factory – The following story appeared in the Western Morning News on the 6th January 2009.
A MASSIVE Vietnamese-style cannabis factory has been discovered in Cornwall – the first of its kind in the county.
Devon and Cornwall Police found hundreds of well-established plants in an old millhouse in a village near Padstow, on the North Cornwall coast. The windows of the three-storey building had been blacked out and a sophisticated growing system, with high-intensity lights and fans, had been installed in several rooms.
Thirteen similar cannabis farms – linked to crime gangs from Vietnam – have been raided in Plymouth in the past three months while others have been uncovered in Exeter. However, Detective Constable Mike Bradley, the force’s drug intelligence officer, confirmed it was the first time the “problem had spread into Cornwall”. He added: “It is in a fairly rural location but my belief is there will be others in the area.”
Officers raided the house, believed to have been rented out for the past six to eight weeks, late on Sunday evening after a call from a member of the public.
No-one was found inside the property which is advertised on the Internet as a holiday cottage. Three men, all Chinese, were arrested shortly afterwards a few miles down the coast.
Officers yesterday began removing the plants and growing paraphernalia from the house. Other items were taken away for forensic and fingerprint analysis.
It is estimated that a factory being run in just five rooms can net criminal gangs around £250,000 a year.
Det Con Bradley said the factory was typical of others that had been found in the region. He said the drugs produced by such factories was destined for other parts of the country rather than the streets of Devon and Cornwall. In most cases, electrical wiring is run throughout the house to power lights and ventilation along with a watering system.
Gangs often tamper with the electricity meter, or bypass it, to avoid paying and attracting attention with suspiciously high bills.
Huge amounts of damage are caused with ducting being run through walls and ceilings. Properties are often water- damaged, while spent compost is commonly dumped in another part of the house. Locks are changed to prevent landlords gaining access. Det Con Bradley said the bill to repair the damage caused at the 13 drugs factories found in Plymouth ran into hundreds of thousands of pounds. Properties are sometimes rented for 12 months for cash upfront.
“We know from other parts of the country that these people don’t just stop at one house,” he said. “They move into an area, make a profit as quickly as they can and then leave before their 12 months is up and move on to another property.
“Landlords then return and find their properties destroyed. I would ask anyone with suspicions about a property to contact us.
“If landlords have suspicions, or can’t gain access to their premises, they should contact us rather than go in themselves.” End.
Have you checked your holiday home lately? Perhaps you have let it as a winter let? Did you carry out appropriate checks on the tenants? Does your Holiday Home Insurance policy cover you for malicious damage?