CANNABIS plants worth more than £500,000 were discovered when police raided a former restaurant in Rotherham and found an illegal drug farm.
Officers discovered the drug den on High Street on Sunday and said plants were being cultivated in a number of rooms.
Sophisticated lighting, heating and ventilation systems had been rigged up to help the plants grow in the former Chinese restaurant.
About 300 plants were found along with another 300 cuttings, which police officers involved said had ‘the potential to make serious money’.
There were also another 300 empty plant pots, which had been used to grow an earlier crop.
Officers involved in Sunday’s raid spent hours in the drug den dismantling the set-up and removing the plants and drugs growing paraphernalia, including fans, transformers and lights.
Chief Superintendent Jason Harwin, Rotherham’s district commander, praised the officers involved in the raid.
Using Twitter to hail the success of the operation, he congratulated those involved for ‘taking drugs off the streets of Rotherham’.
Temporary Detective Sergeant Jamie Henderson, of the Rotherham tasking team, which carries out drug raids daily, said: “This was a disused Chinese restaurant which had a sign in the window saying it was shut for refurbishment following a flood.
“Inside every room was being used to grow plants – from the kitchen to the living quarters above.
“It was a large professional set up that could have made more than £500,000 – a substantial amount of money
“Whoever is behind this operation will have invested a considerable amount of money on sophisticated lighting heating and feeding systems and would have been expecting huge financial gain, so this will have hit them hard.
“We are doing everything we possibly can to find those behind the cultivation.”
n Anyone with information about drugs in South Yorkshire is asked to call police on 101 or, alternatively, Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.