DETECTIVES are jubilant after a tip-off helped shut down a cannabis factory containing over £100k worth of plants in east Belfast.
The ‘sophisticated’ factory was discovered in a house at Templemore Avenue on Monday of this week.
PSNI Area Commander Chief Inspector Mark McEwan said cannabis factories are a danger to the local community.
“Officers discovered this suspected cannabis factory on July 22 and managed to disconnect electricity supplies which were used to generate heat and light for the plants.”
He said that in similar circumstances, cannabis factories have caught fire and the officers’ primary concern was making sure the property, the occupants and neighbours were kept safe from the dangers of fire.
“This find illustrates local police officers determination to make things safer for the residents of east Belfast by acting quickly on any information received about crime in the area.”
Follow-up enquiries found that the building had been empty for a number of years, but was broken into by criminals who set up the cannabis factory.
Police are appealing for landlords to check their properties regularly.
“Members of the community may have property which for one reason or another, have been left unused and empty for some time,” said a PSNI spokesperson.
“This type of property, be it a house, apartment or even a storage facility is perfect for criminals to set themselves up to embark on illegal activities without being seen.
“We would ask landlords and property owners to make regular checks of their property to ensure they are not being used by criminal elements.”
DUP MLA and local councillor Adam Newton has welcomed the discovery and destruction of the drugs.
“This is the type of action local churches, community group representative and politicians have been calling for over past weeks,” said the MLA.
“There is huge concern within the community about the use of drugs; illegal and proscription drugs.
“I welcome the actions of the PSNI in closing down this cannabis factory with the loss of £100,000 worth of drugs to the drug dealers.
“Given the recent loss of young lives to the drug dealers activity I know all responsible people across East Belfast will be supportive of the police in their actions.”