If there’s one thing that police are discovering after two decades of the 21st century, it’s that cannabis factories are coming in all shapes and sizes – and they can here, there and everywhere.
They have been found in mid-terraced homes in densely populated residential areas, isolated industrial units, former churches and even underground.
Now one has been found inside a Grade II listed building under the noses of thousands of motorists who pass by on the M5 through West Bromwich every day.
The risk of the electrical equipment catching fire poses a particular danger in residential neighbourhoods as recent fires in student digs in Dawlish Road, Selly Oak and a mid-terraced property in Bridge Street South, Smethwick have proved.
In one the biggest Midlands discoveries of its kind, police have revealed they have now found plants worth £3 million inside a Victorian building in West Bromwich.
Once home to an engineering company that began life in 1791, its features are a familiar landmark for motorists on the elevated stretch of the M5 right next door.
Watch the video above to see how the Gothic-style property renamed Haliburton House fits into the modern landscape all around it.
What has been uncovered?
West Midlands Police today revealed they had discovered the farm concealed within Haliburton House (not its original name) in Hall Street South, West Bromwich.
Plants were found across all three floors as well as the loft space and even in the clock tower.
West Midlands Police Detective Inspector Ade George, said: “We strongly suspect this drugs factory, given the scale, is linked to serious organised crime.
“It’s a big win for us and its discovery, especially as the crop was nearing harvest, will be a significant dent in the finances of the crime group involved.
“We’ve seized several million pounds worth of drugs plus equipment also costing tens of thousands of pounds.
“A drugs factory of this size, with all the modifications, takes a lot of time and effort; I would suggest it has been in operation for around six months. There is also clear evidence of living quarters within the property.”
What is the history of the building?
The site was listed 33 years ago.
It was once home to a local firm which began life as an iron founder in 1791, manufacturing buckles and livery fittings.
The site was put up…