Brede 72-year-old arrested after drugs factory bust

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A SEVENTY two year old man and a 41 year old man from Brede were arrested after police stumbled on a cannabis factory.

Officers found themselves waist deep in cannabis plants while helping bailiffs repossess a warehouse in Bexhill.

They had been called to Unit 5 in Brett Drive, close to Ravenside retail and leisure park, to prevent a breach of the peace while the repo men went about their work.

But while at the property on the industrial estate last Thursday, May 10, it was discovered that there was a void area within the building that was not apparently being used.

The area had been secured with a reinforced door and extra police were called in to break it open. Hidden behind it they were amazed to discover more than 200 cannabis plants in various stages of growth, and with an estimated street value of around £30,000.

Lighting and hydroponics equipment to encourage the plants’ growth was seized along with the plants, and a 16-year-old Vietnamese boy, who had apparently been occupying a small room used as a sleeping area nearby, was arrested by PC Alison Puddefoot as he tried to flee from the rear.

Shortly afterwards two men, one aged 72 and the other 41, both from Brede, were arrested by officers led by Sergeant Dan Russell. All have been bailed until June 25 pending further enquiries.

Police guarded the scene for a day and a half while scenes-of-crimes officers secured evidence and arrangements were made to clear away the drugs haul and ancillary equipment. Exactly how long the cannabis had been growing there has yet to be established.

EDF Energy electrical engineers attended to make the building safe after it was discovered that tenants had been illegally abstracting power to heat and light the growing area.

PC Roy Warren, of Bexhill police, said: “This was an unexpected but welcome find. It brings us all great pleasure to be able to shut down set-ups such as this.

“I would like to encourage anyone witnessing suspicious activity at any property to call Sussex Police on 101. Only with the help of the communities we serve can we bring criminals to justice. We rely on you.”