£1.2 million worth of cannabis found at ‘sophisticated’ underground farm at disused Sheffield social club

Police found 1200 cannabis plants worth £1.2 million at a “sophisticated” underground cannabis farm complete with tunnels at a disused social club in Sheffield.

Tuesday, 14th July 2020, 6:09 pm

Police made the discovery underneath a scaffolding site behind a multi-purpose building on The Avenue, Darnall, just behind Main Road. The building used to be The Green Social Club but is now home to the Darnall Community Centre and a gym.

About 30 officers, including some wearing hazmat suits and dog handlers, flooded the area at around 7am on Tuesday, with witnesses claiming eight vehicles were at the scene. Two police vans remained there until Tuesday afternoon while removal company workers dismantled the cultivation equipment and placed it into a skip.

The plants would have been worth about £1.2 million once cropped, police said.

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Locals said about 30 officers were present at the scene this morning.

Officers told one woman the set-up was “really well-sealed and ventilated” to avoid suspicion. The entrance to the scaffolding site is just yards from a public pathway and there are several businesses close by.

"They didn’t know until they broke in how big it was,” she added.

"They said they found plants underground. I think there were cellars and they have got tunnels going to the cellars. They accessed it from the back of the building.”

Detective inspector Andy Shields from South Yorkshire Police said: “The premises were a labyrinth of rooms, crammed full of cannabis plants of varying maturity.

The grow was discovered underground.

“Officers had to negotiate a maze of ladders and cellars, the property itself is structurally unsafe.”

No one has yet been arrested in connection with the grow.

He added: “As well as the plants, there were huge supplies of all the paraphernalia needed to produce such a crop, significant amounts of compost and gardening equipment.”

A nearby business owner, who did not want to give his name, said: “I have spoken to the woman who owns the building, she’s been down there. She was shocked. This seems like something out of the movies.

Police remained at the scene on Tuesday afternoon.

"It was around the back and from there was another entrance to these tunnels and that’s where the grow is.”

He added: "It doesn’t really surprise me. I’m not from here but I know what the area is like and there’s a lot of drug issues.

"It’s quite sophisticated. Someone here has gone to real trouble, it’s not just something set up in an attic.”

Another woman added: “There’s a lot of stuff that’s gone on around here.”

One man described the set-up as "sophisticated".

Police confirmed around 50 cannabis plants were also seized from property on Annesley Road, Greenhill following another raid this morning.

A mechanic working across the road from the site of the raid said: “We have been able to smell cannabis all day.

"It’s rife with it around here. I have worked here for three years and it’s been like that since I’ve been here.”

Sergeant Dan Wilson said: “Whilst we made no arrests this morning, this warrant is important in our continued efforts to gather intelligence around where such set ups are located.

“By disrupting commercial production we are delivering a blow to the criminal networks involved in organised crime not just in Sheffield, but South Yorkshire more widely.”