Birmingham & Black Country

Derelict Birmingham flats hide 31-room cannabis factory

Plants at a cannabis factory which covered three floors of a derelict tower block in the middle of a housing estate in Birmingham. Image copyright West Midlands Police/PA Wire
Image caption West Midlands Police said officers found plants with an estimated street value of £500,000

A huge cannabis factory has been found covering three floors and 31 rooms of a derelict tower block in Birmingham.

Police said they had discovered a "sophisticated" operation at Warstone Tower, in Bromford Drive.

Cannabis plants with an estimated street value of £500,000 were seized by officers who also found apparent living quarters for those running the factory.

Secure doors had been fitted and power and water had been diverted to help the operation, West Midlands Police said.

Officers, who were alerted on 24 January, arrested five men at the scene on suspicion of cannabis cultivation.

A councillor said it raises questions about how it could operate in the middle of a housing estate.

Image copyright West Midlands Police/PA Wire
Image caption Another room had containers holding gallons of water with a pumping system installed

Officers also uncovered beds with mattresses, duvets and pillow cases along with food provisions, including a box of tomatoes.

Image copyright West Midlands Police/PA Wire
Image caption Police had to get through an internal steel-barred door, reinforced with a metal grille, and an industrial-sized padlock

Det Insp Jim Church said: "This is a sophisticated, organised crime operation that has clearly been running for some time, but which we've now been able to dismantle.

"We'll be working to establish the full scale of it and make the property safe."

Cllr Majid Mahmood, who represents the ward, said: "Questions need to be asked about how those people were so brazen, living there and running a cannabis farm, when you've got shops nearby and a church, so you've got a lot of footfall.

"I think a lot of people might have thought they were the [demolition] contractors, coming and going, but with the stench of the plants that must have been coming from there, I'd have thought someone would have noticed."

Image copyright West Midlands Police/PA Wire
Image caption Living quarters were also found within the cannabis factory

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