One of the biggest cannabis factories ever found in the Midlands was hidden inside an historic factory building in West Bromwich.
The crop – believed to be worth a whopping £3 million – was discovered within Haliburton House in Hall Street South on July 14.
Illicit plants were spread across all three floors of the Victorian industrial building, which dates back to the 1870s and was previously home to a metal manufacturing firm.
The loft space and the clock tower had also been used to cultivate the thousands of plants, many of which were approaching maturity and harvest ready.
Footage from inside the Grade II listed building – which can be viewed above – shows extensive heating, lighting and hydroponics were used to grow the crop.
Detective Inspector Ade George, from West Midlands Police, described the find as “a big win” for the force – however no arrests have been made in relation to the find, which was a result of a utilities company reporting a surge in electricity usage at the site.
He 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.
“No-one has been arrested at this stage but our enquiries into who was behind the factory are underway – and I’d urge anyone with information to get in contact.”
The force’s specialist cannabis disposal team were unable to clear the site immediately due to an asbestos warning − but after working with a specialist contractor the building was made safe and the drugs removed for destruction.
Inspector Scott Shaw, added: “The construction of the cannabis farm disturbed asbestos construction material in the building; both the plants and property were contaminated as a result.
“We worked with the Health and Safety Executive and specialist contractors to clear the site and make it safe.
“The health hazards for anyone working in this environment are very clear − but there would also have been a serious danger to anyone using asbestos contaminated drugs.
“Discovering this drugs factory will have had struck a significant financial blow to the organised criminals behind it but it’s also protected members of our communities from very serious harm.”