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Blaze At Suspected Cannabis Factory

Cozmo

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A SUSPECTED cannabis factory went up in smoke when a fire broke out in a Rodbourne Cheney house.

Police discovered the haul of plants at a home in Whitworth Road early on Saturday morning.

Cut and dried plants were also found at the address.

Neighbours were woken by smoke billowing from the property and the flashing lights of six fire engines and police vehicles in the street.

The heat of the fire caused so much damage to the house, scaffolders had to be called in on Saturday morning to secure it before police could gather evidence.

Police crime scene investigators spent the whole of Saturday scouring the property for evidence.

Det Sgt Peter Ritson, who is leading the investigation, said: "At 2.30am on Saturday May 15, police and the fire service were called to an address in Whitworth Road.

"Reports had been received of smoke coming from the premises.

"After an initial investigation established there were no persons in the premises the fire was contained and extinguished.

"A search was then made of the premises and a large quantity of plants were found in various stages of growth, including cut and dried vegetable matter.

"This is yet to be submitted for forensic analysis.

"Due to the damage caused by the fire a structural engineer was called.

"The cause of the fire is under investigation but is believed to be concerned with electrical wiring.

"The police enquiry continues as to the cause of the fire and to establish who was using the premises in the weeks prior to the fire."

The owner of the house said the property was rented out, but empty at the time of the fire.

The landlord, who also owns the post office next door, but refused to give his name, said: "There was no one in the house, no one was hurt. It was just a fire.

"I don't know what happened, I just got a call from the post office at nine in the morning."

One Whitworth Road resident, who did not want to be named, said: "I was woken up at about three o'clock. There were a lot of fire engines and a lot of smoke.

"I couldn't see any flames because the smoke was so thick."

Another neighbour said: "I don't know who lived there. But there were always people going in and out."

Richard Street, who lives next door to the suspected drug factory said his family was woken by the police at the door.

"It was my girls that were woken up first. They were waving at the policeman out of the window, but didn't realise he was trying to get someone to come to the door.

"They weren't sure if there was anyone inside the house.

"We didn't have to evacuate because the fire was on the other side of the house to us."

Wiltshire Fire and Rescue duty manager Andy Hargreaves said: "It was quite a serious fire on the ground floor, which carried to the first floor and into the roof.

"In total there were four appliances, an aerial unit and command support and there were about 25 firefighters on the scene.

"Scene of fire investigators got to work right away and will be preparing a report."

Whitworth Road residents said there had been rumours about drugs in the area and police vehicles were seen outside the post office earlier this month.


Newshawk: CoZmO - 420Magazine.com
Source: Swindon Advertiser (UK)
Author: Emily Walker
Contact: ewalker@newswilts.co.uk
Copyright: 2007 Newsquest Media Group
Website: Blaze At Suspected Cannabis Factory (from Swindon Advertiser)
 
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