Merseyside Police has seized 270 cannabis plants after emergency services attended reports of a fire in Fairfield in the early hours of Monday (4 April).
At around 1.15am, Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service attended a report of a fire at a flat on Radstock Road and once inside, discovered 270 cannabis plants across three flats.
Following an investigation, the fire is believed to have started at a bridged electricity meter and caused extensive damage to the entrance and smoke damage throughout.
The flat was made safe by an engineer, who also found door handles had been electrified.
There were no people present in the building and enquiries are ongoing to locate the occupants.
Cannabis Dismantling Team Manager Matt Brown said, “This incident is a very clear indication of the dangers posed by cannabis farms.
“Thankfully, no people were hurt by this fire, thanks largely to the efforts of firefighters who attended, and the risk to neighbouring properties has now been removed.
“We are determined to bring to justice those criminals who risked the safety of the occupants and neighbours by overloading plugs and tinkering with the wiring, and even electrifying door handles in an attempt to booby trap the premises.”
Matt Brown added, “This incident shows why it is vital that we find cannabis farms as quickly as possible. Nobody wants to live close to a potential death-traps such as this, and it is often thanks to people living in the areas affected who tell us about their suspicions, and the proactivity of our officers, that we are able to take action.
“The people who run these farms care far more about making ill-gotten gains than the risks they pose to neighbouring properties.
“We’re keen to speak with anyone who might have seen people coming or going from the address on Radstock Road in recent days and weeks. Any details of suspicious people or vehicles could prove vital in helping identify those responsible and we will act on all information received.”
Some of the signs that cannabis is being grown are:
• Strange smells and sounds
• Frequent and varied visitors to a property, often at unusual times
• Gardening equipment being taken into a property, such as plant pots, fertiliser, fans and industrial lighting
• Windows are sealed and covered or the curtains are permanently closed
• Heat from an adjoining property
• Birds gathering on a roof in cold weather
• Individually these activities may seem commonplace, however, together may indicate something more suspicious
Anyone with information on suspected drug production or criminal activity in their community can contact @MerPolCC, call 101 or come forward anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
Images: Merseyside Police