“POLICE with a warrant,” shouted the officers as they smashed open the door of a terraced house, splintered wood falling to the floor, writes Richard Marsden.
The team then stormed into the house and searched every corner of the property - finding a number of cannabis plants.
The early morning scene is one that acting Detective Chief Inspector Bob Chapman warns will be repeated at addresses across Sheffield whenever intelligence suggests the drug is being grown.
Officers are aware of so many properties being used as cannabis factories they say they could be ‘out every day’ executing search warrants.
In one raid yesterday, a 25-year-old mechanic, who lives with his wife and their young child on Silkstone Road, Frecheville, was arrested.
Police did not need to smash their way into the address because the door was answered.
Once inside, they found six plants growing in pots inside a special tent in the loft. Power to the cannabis factory was supplied via cables which had bypassed the electricity meter and police scenes of crime officers had to suspend their work while the property was made safe.
The man arrested was not only facing a possible prison sentence but also endangering his family through tampering with the electricity supply and endangering mortgage repayments if he is jailed.
At business premises on the main road in Crookes, one person was arrested after police found a ‘very professional set up’ in the cellar with at least eight high value, large yielding plants, capable of producing a harvest worth up to £1,500 per plant.
Officers swooped on a house on Whinacre Close, Batemoor, on suspicion the residents were involved in serious crime.
Instead, they found one of the two bedrooms at the flat had been kitted out with £3,000 to £5,000 of growing equipment and eight ‘well established’ plants capable of producing a crop worth £4,000 every 14 to 16 weeks.
Police carried out a drugs raid on a house in Arbourthorne where they found £3,000 of heroin, crack cocaine and cannabis. Three people were arrested.
Intelligence used by detectives to help hunt down cannabis factories includes reports of ‘abnormal heat’ emitted from houses, spotted by the police helicopter.
Police gearing up for raids first research each address in as much detail as possible - who lives there, whether they pose a risk and whether any residents are vulnerable.
Modern technology also helps, with police using images from internet search engine Google’s Street View service to assess houses as well as traditional methods.