Grow house ‘one of most intricate’ uncovered by cops

By Evan Short

BY Evan Short
e.short@belfastmediagroup.com
One of the most sophisticated cannabis grow houses ever seen in the North of Ireland was uncovered yesterday off the lower Antrim Road with a police operation to remove the equipment lasting over 24 hours.
Almost £160,000 worth of cannabis and two skips full of growing equipment was removed from two three-storey houses on Eia Street that were being used by criminals to grow the illegal drug.
The North Belfast News understands the criminals had rented one house and smashed though the wall into a neighbouring derelict property for extra space.
Industrial lighting equipment and a sophisticated venting system had been installed with the growing operation spread across the upper two floors.
A neighbour told the North Belfast News even the PSNI officers were shocked at what they found.
“The police were here all day yesterday (Wednesday) taking stuff out and I was talking to one of them who said it was the most sophisticated venting system he had ever seen,” he said.
“I was here all day and they were coming and going for hours with fans and lights and some sort of reflecting equipment. It was a serious operation.”
Another resident said he had never seen anyone come or go from the house.
“I am shocked to be honest. You never saw anyone coming or going from the house and then all these police showed up yesterday and started removing stuff. They were there all day.”
Last month the PSNI issued ‘scratch and sniff’ cards in a bid to get the public to help them uncover more grow houses. Cannabis plants have a very strong smell which is why criminals spend so much money on venting systems and the cards replicate that smell. They also contain information on how to spot a grow house, such as windows that are covered 24 hours a day and strong lighting.
PSNI figures released last week showed a 44 per cent increase in cannabis factories discovered in the period covering 2013 and 2014.
A police spokeswoman confirmed they had completed an operation at the house.
“Following a Policing operation and search yesterday afternoon in the Eia Street area of north Belfast where over 300 cannabis plants with a street value believed to be around £158,000 were seized by officers , two men aged 45 and 23 have been arrested, both on suspicion of Cultivating Cannabis, Possession of Cannabis and Possession of Cannabis with Intent to Supply.
Both men are currently in custody, assisting with enquiries.”

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