Glowing like a beacon in the dark, this high-rise flat definitely stands out in the crowd.
Even standing storeys high, this hidden cannabis farm could not escape being captured by the West Midlands Police helicopter’s thermal imaging camera.
Heat-sensitive cameras on board West Midlands Police’s helicopter picked up unusually high temperatures seeping from the walls of the high-rise home in Nechells’ South Tower.
The ‘glowing’ properties picked up on the cameras are a tell-tale sign of cannabis production because the plants require huge heat and light to grow. Air operations staff alerted neighbourhood police colleagues on the ground and when officers raided the address days later they discovered 143 cannabis plants.
Benjamin Edwards, 28, was given a two-year prison sentence suspended for 24 months when he admitted cannabis cultivation at Birmingham Crown Court last week.
He was also ordered to attend a three-month drug rehab course and made a subject of a two-year supervision order and told to pay £100 costs.
Martin Knowles, West Midlands Police Deputy Air Operations Manager, said: “The crew were heading back from a search in the Solihull area when they noticed a clear heat source at a flat in Nechells. Our thermal cameras can detect unusually high temperatures coming from properties several thousand feet away – anyone growing cannabis on a commercial scale, using rows of heat lamps, runs the very real risk their criminality will be rumbled from the skies.”
The drugs den was caught on camera just after 10.30pm on May 2 this year as the helicopter made its way back to Birmingham Airport after providing air support in the search for a wanted man in Acocks Green.
Police search teams found the plants – which had potential to yield drugs with a street value of around £30,000 – scattered throughout the flat.