Equipment seized in huge drugs farm raid donated to reptiles and fish at Blackpool Zoo

If you've ever wondered what happens when police dismantle a drugs farm - look no further than your local zoo.

Wednesday, 23rd October 2019, 2:59 pm
A caiman, which has benefitted from the new equipment

Lamps and bulbs that were once used to cultivate cannabis in Darwen are now being used the warm the scales of reptiles and fish at Blackpool Zoo.

The cannabis farm, found by officers on October 8 in the Lower Eccleshill area of the town, was the biggest ever found in Lancashire, containing an estimated 8,000-10,000 plants and £20,000 worth of equipment.

A quarter of this equipment - including lamps, reflectors, bulbs, transformers and temperature gauges - was still boxed-up and was donated to the zoo by the police.

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Officers handing over some of the equipment to zookeepers. Picture from Blackpool police

Luke Minns, head keeper at Blackpool Zoo, said: “We are absolutely delighted to have been gifted all this fabulous equipment!

“It is now in use in various reptile enclosures and aquariums across the zoo and will help to promote natural behaviours in the animals and encourage plant growth.

“Our butterfly goodeids, which are considered extinct in the wild, along with our caiman, prehensile tailed skinks and red bellied piranhas are all benefitting from the new kit.

“Huge thanks go to Lancashire police, this donation really is very gratefully received.”

Some bedding found at the Darwen address, which was also new and unopened, was also donated to charity, while several unused plant pots and canes were donated to an allotment group in Padiham.

PC Phil Tyreman, one of the officers who helped deliver the items to the zoo, said: “We dismantled the set-up and the drugs have now been destroyed, but we didn’t want the equipment found at the premises to go to waste.

“We estimated that the items that could be re-used were probably worth around £5,000 so we’re pleased the Zoo have been able to make good use of them.

“The origin of the items is unusual but it’s all perfectly good kit and we hope the animals that have benefitted will be extra cosy this winter!”