Cannabis factory in town centre

A CANNABIS factory has been discovered in a rented Exmouth town centre flat with hundreds plants abandoned. Police were called to the flat at Madeira Villas on Saturday after the landlord found 300 cannabis plants and paraphernalia in his four-bedroom house.

A CANNABIS factory has been discovered in a rented Exmouth town centre flat - with hundreds plants abandoned.Police were called to the flat at Madeira Villas on Saturday after the landlord found 300 cannabis plants and paraphernalia in his four-bedroom house.Inner walls at the house had been removed, a ventilation system installed and the electricity by-passed.The tenants, Asian men who had been at the property for six months, had not caused any problems and had always paid their rent on time.But last week a rent cheque did not clear so the landlord visited the flat - only to find all the locks had been changed.He forced the back window and discovered the cannabis factory.Inside the house there were wires hanging from the ceilings, extractors going to each chimney and lighting for extra heat. Windows had been blanked out, but lights had been placed to make it look as though people were inside. There was around a tonne of soil on the living room floor.Police, who have not made any arrests, are calling for landlords to be more vigilant when renting out property. Exmouth's PC Matt Helm said landlords had an obligation to ensure drugs were not cultivated on their premises."We now have a leaflet aimed at landlords to tell them what to look for," he said.The leaflet - entitled Keeping Illegal Drugs out of Rental Properties - advises landlords to keep an eye out for things such as a significant increase in energy bills.If anyone has any information about the cannabis factory, contact Crimestoppers anonymously on (0800) 555111 or Exmouth police on (08452) 777444, quoting crime number KE-09-431.

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