Cannabis with an estimated street value of £2 million – including hundreds of plants seized in the Black Country – has gone up in flames at an incineration plant.
It is the latest haul seized by the West Midlands Police specialist disposal team which last year stripped almost 20 tons of cannabis from drug dealers.
It includes drugs taken from 30 cannabis factories cracked during December including 790 plants found at a converted property in Bilston.
The haul was found in a unit on Bilston Industrial Estate, Oxford Street, in December – when officers seized plants from a set-up of seven miniature indoor allotments, next to a caravan, also inside the unit, where it is believed the culprits were living before the raid. No arrests were made.
A further 479 plants were also found inside a Stechford home.
Last year the team cleared 479 cannabis farms across the West Midlands, taking the tally to more than 1,000 since it was formed in 2011.
A new video shows the drugs being destroyed at an incinerator in Small Heath.
Officers are seen loading piles of bin liners full of cannabis into the back of a van, when they are taken to the incinerator and added to a huge mound of burning waste.
Disposal team manager Mike Hall, said: “We know how much upset drug dealing causes in our communities. It attracts an undesirable element, tends to be linked to wider acquisitive crime and is a real concern, especially for families. No-one should be expected to live with drug dealing on their doorstep we’re responding to community concerns, acting on the information they provide, and shutting down more and more drugs production facilities.”
Officers have become experienced in searching cellars and loft spaces where cannabis farms may be concealed.
Forces across the UK, including most recently Merseyside Police, are setting up similar teams now.
Mr Hall added: “Cannabis farms need lots of heat and light energy, plus regular watering, so growers often tamper with power supplies, stealing electricity, and build their own irrigation systems. Dodgy electrics and water is a potentially lethal combination so our team is highly trained to safely dismantle cannabis set-ups.
“We have been called to several fires started as a result of dealers tampering with electricity supplies so growers cause a very real fire hazard to people and property. And some cannabis factories have been known to be booby trapped.”
They work closely with West Midlands Police’s Drug Investigation Team a specialist arm of CID headed-up by Inspector Tom Chisholm.