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Police Vow On Fortress "cannabis Cafe"


420 Staff
A controvesial "cannabis cafe" has reopened just days after police used a tractor to smash their way in.

During the dramatic raid the side of the building collapsed while people were still inside.

Now the owner of the cafe, which police believe is being used to sell cannabis, has tried to turn it into an impregnable fortress.

He has stacked car tyres filled with concrete around the building in Freshbrook Road, Lancing, and installed razor wire to deter intruders.

A spokesman for the owner, who did not want to be identified, said: "We were back up and running within days of the police raid."

One of those inside at the time said: "It was like something out of a Bruce Willis film. Somebody could have very easily been very badly hurt of even killed."

Another said: "It could have easily collapsed completely with everyone inside it. As it was people did get minor injuries, bumps and bruises, and one woman suffered an asthma attack."

But police were unapologetic about the estimated UKP20,000 worth of damage caused to the building when the tractor pulled away a window so officers could gain entry.

And they vowed to step up the pressure in a bid to close the cafe once and for all.

Chief Inspector Lawrence Hobbs, Adur district police commander, said the building's previous defences forced his officers to use the tractor.

He said: "We have held meetings with the local residents and they clearly want us to close this place down.

"With the fortifications that have been made, at great expense, our options were diminishing. That meant we had to take the relatively drastic action of employing a tractor during the last raid.

"We considered the health and safety implications very carefully and were confident nobody would be hurt, and nobody was.

"We are not deterred by the owners' latest comments or their refortifications. We will continue to execute warrants as and when we feel it is necessary.

"There has to be a recognition that these types of illegal enterprises will not be tolerated.

"This is not about recreational drug use on a minor scale. We are not talking about an individual having a quiet joint in their own home.

"We are talking about 30 or 40 people in one place, many of them from out of town. We are also tackling the people who are profiting ffrom thousands of pounds a week from the proceeds of crime."

Source: Argus, The (UK)
Copyright: 2007 Newsquest Media Group
Contact: editor@theargus.co.uk
Website: The Argus - News, Sport, Brighton and Hove Albion and Entertainment for Brighton, Hove and Sussex
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