Pictures reveal how a disused Doncaster pub was turned into a £1 million cannabis factory
Photos reveal how a disused Doncaster pub was converted into a £1 million cannabis factory.
The drug den at the former Harlequin pub on King Edward Road, Thorne, was discovered by utility company workers last week.
It is believed to be one of the largest cannabis farms ever discovered in South Yorkshire and a police probe is now under way to find those behind the criminal enterprise.
Utility company workers sent to the pub to check on its electricity supply and smart meter discovered the drug den and called the police.
They found three men, believed to be cannabis farmers, inside the pub, where a small area had been turned into living quarters.
The men, described as ‘Eastern European’, left the pub after being disturbed and are still at large today.
One of the utility company workers who found the drug farm said: “I have found a number of cannabis set-ups over the years, but nothing on this scale.
“It was a very sophisticated operation. The pub had been totally fenced off and there were wooden boards on the doors and windows.
“As we were trying to get in I heard a door bolt open and then three Eastern European guys just walked out. They looked very very shocked to see us and as they left all three of them were on their phones.”
He said every inch of the pub was being used to cultivate plants apart from a small area, which had been turned into living quarters.
“It was a very sophisticated set up on an industrial scale,” he said.
But the man, who does not want to be named for fear of reprisals, said he was surprised at the initial police response to the drug den.
“Officers came about 30 minutes after we called it in but then nothing happened for hours. There were just two officers on site guarding it for most of the day,” he said.
“Bearing in mind that I saw the three men leave, nobody has asked me for descriptions or anything yet, which I am surprised at.”
South Yorkshire Police said: “A utilities officer and a colleague attended the premises on King Edward Road.
“Three unidentified males are reported to have ran from the premises.
“The utilities officer and colleague called police and were initially taken around the local area in the police car in a bid to try and trace the suspects.
“They remain outstanding and police are keen to hear from anyone who may have information about those involved.”
Call South Yorkshire Police on 101 and quote incident number 200 of December 9, or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.