CANNABIS with an estimated street value of £160,000 has been found at an address in Lytham.
Police, alerted to a strong smell of the Class B drug from residents, found 300 to 400 plants in the lounge and two bedrooms in a flat on Clifton Drive yesterday.
The property, which had been empty for several months, had paddling pools inside, along with hydroponic equipment – a method of growing plants in water – which was being used to produce the cannabis plants.
Sgt Lisa Griffin, of Lancashire Police, said: “We received some community information that there was a strong smell of cannabis coming from one of the properties.
“It was an empty property managed by an estate agency.
“We got access to the property and found a cannabis factory – it is a big haul.”
Neighbours spoke of their shock when told about such a large quantity being grown near their homes.
One man, who did not wish to be named, said: “I’m really surprised about this.
“The area we live in, you just don’t associate it with people producing drugs, in particular growing cannabis plants.
“I’m really quite stunned about it.
“I lived in Holland for several years and there is a distinctive smell usually, but it certainly isn’t something I have noticed.
“I haven’t seen anyone at that flat for some time in truth.”
Another neighbour, who also did not wish to be named, said: “The home has been empty for some time.
“I know a family lived there last year but it has been a long time since I have seen them.
“I’m really surprised, the area we live in is fairly quiet, you just don’t expect this sort of thing to go on near your doorstep.”
Crime Scene Investigators were at the flat yesterday collecting evidence.
Sgt Griffin added: “The plants are very nearly reaching maturity.
“ Some of them will be seized for evidence and the rest will be destroyed.
“It was quite a sophisticated set-up with metal piping that had been put through the chimney of the property.
“There were lamps powered by electricity which had been by-passed so they must be electrically minded.
“It will have been on all the time so it must have cost thousands of pounds to run for a couple of months.”
Sgt Griffin thanked the community for the tip-off.
She added: “We need the community to come forward and give us information like this. We are very grateful to them.
“The more drugs brought to the area, the more crime is brought.
“We want to stamp it out.”