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Historic church next door to primary school converted into cannabis farm

By Jordan Reynolds | Rugeley | Crime | Published:

Hundreds of cannabis plants have been found growing in a disused church in a small Staffordshire village.

Hundreds of cannabis plants were found in a church in Rugeley. Photo: Chief Inspector Mark Smith

The former United Reform Church in Armitage, between Rugeley and Lichfield, had been converted into an industrial cannabis farm.

More than 400 plants were found in a police raid on Friday, while air ducts, specialist lights, power banks and wooden frames had been installed to help the plants grow.

The Armitage United Reformed Church in, Rugeley Road, where the drugs were found
Hundreds of cannabis plants were found in a church in Rugeley. Photo: Chief Inspector Mark Smith

Local man Hazret Malaj has since been arrested and charged with producing a controlled Class B drug.

He appeared in court at North Staffordshire Justice Centre on Monday and was remanded in custody to appear again on Friday.

The church, next door to Croft Primary School on Rugeley Road, is a Grade II-listed building built in 1820 but has not been used as a place of worship for more than 20 years.

Hundreds of cannabis plants were found in a church in Rugeley. Photo: Chief Inspector Mark Smith

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Chief Inspector Mark Smith, who is based in Lichfield for Staffordshire Police, praised his officers for seizing the cannabis, adding: "I'm glad this haul is off the streets and in our custody. Top job by Sergeant Green and troops."

A spokeswoman for Staffordshire Police said: "Hazret Malaj, 31, of Rugeley Road, Armitage, has been charged with producing a controlled drug of Class B after officers discovered almost 400 cannabis plants in a church in Rugeley on Friday.

"He has been remanded until his next court appearance."

Jordan Reynolds

By Jordan Reynolds
Reporter - @jreynolds_star

Senior reporter at the Express & Star.

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