June 19 2013 Latest news:
Friday, February 1, 2013
Police are continuing to investigate the culprits behind a cannabis factory, set up in a rented warehouse in Withycombe Raleigh.
Forensic testing is being carried out on items seized from a cannabis factory discovered in Withycombe Raleigh - in the hope of identifying the culprits.
The professionally-run cannabis factory hidden in a warehouse surrounded by homes and business in Pound Lane was raided earlier this month.
Officers discovered growing plants worth hundreds of thousands of pounds.
Currently, police have no leads and no arrests have been made.
Officers are now waiting to see if fingerprint and DNA samples found at the site will throw up any leads.
PC Jenny Palmer, leading investigator, said it was ‘unlikely’ gloves had been worn to mask fingerprints by anyone tending the drugs.
She said: “We are waiting for forensics to come back, but that takes time.
“We are looking at getting fingerprints off things like soil bags. We have sent a sample off. If we find any marks whatsoever, we can send more of those off.”
During the raid, officers discovered drugs worth hundreds of thousands of pounds growing in three make-shift rooms.
Police said the owners of the building, unit 1A, in Pound Lane, rented out the premises at the end of 2012 to Complete Catering and Marquees, but ‘did not have a clue’, that cannabis was being cultivated.
The tenant paid the unit owner for the lease upfront in cash, police said.
The unit owner, who has worked around the clock to repair his premises ready for re-leasing, has given a detailed description of the tenant to police.
Door-to-door enquiries carried out by officers after the raid gleaned limited information.
PC Palmer said: “Not may people saw any coming or goings. Neighbours did smell the cannabis smell, but said it was difficult to tell where it was coming from.
“A couple of people in the neighbourhood remember the vents going up [to siphon off the strong cannabis smell], but don’t remember when it was.”
A 55-year-old local resident, who did not want to be named, said she was ‘shocked’ to learn illegal drugs had been growing yards from her home.
“I didn’t expect that,” said the resident. “We thought the whole place had closed down. I haven’t seen anything or anyone, because you can’t see down there.”
PC Glen Herbert, field intelligence officer, said: “This is possibly the fifth largest grow in recent years in Exmouth. This one is the biggest so far.
“The problem is country wide.”