Cannabis farm ‘the size of a football pitch’ sniffed out by funfair cop

A “sophisticated” cannabis farm that police say was part of a multi-million pound operation was sniffed out by a community support officer who was patrolling a local funfair.

Northumbria Police say a farm containing an estimated 3,000 plants worth about £660 each were discovered in the Team Valley trading estate after Community Support Officer Martin Jobling noticed a strong smell.

Working with Acting Inspector Warren Sturrock, PCSO Jobling identified a warehouse which seemed to be the source of the smell.

Inside, reports Chronicle Live, the two coppers found an area of cannabis plants “the size of a football pitch.”.

They arrested three foreign nationals on the scene on suspicion of producing a Class B drug with intent to supply.

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A/Insp Sturrock said: “This is a sophisticated drug supply operation that may have seen millions of pounds worth of cannabis supplied to dealers across our region.

“This seizure will have put a huge dent in the pockets of the organised crime group responsible but we will not stop here and a criminal investigation is well underway.

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He continued: “We have arrested three suspected cannabis farmers at the factory and we are now working to establish who is involved in this sophisticated operation.

“This is clearly not a small cannabis farm to help give someone pain relief, this is an industrial-sized farm that is lining the pockets of serious criminals and will not be tolerated.

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He added: “Under the banner of Operation Sentinel, our dedicated approach to tackling serious and organised crime, we will continue to work with our partners and engage with communities and proactively target suspects in order to disrupt crime and protect the public.”

“I want to praise Martin who was on patrol at a local funfair and acted on his instinct when he smelt cannabis and knew something wasn’t quite right."

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“It shows that community policing has an important role to play in the fight against organised crime and that makes me very proud.

“We will continue to patrol our local communities and engage with residents in our area. If you have information that could help us then pick up the phone and get in touch.”

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