Large-scale cannabis factory with more than 500 plants discovered in Eastleigh

Credit - Hampshire Police
Police say that while some may brush off the issue, they want to stress that large scale operations are often run by organised crime gangs. Credit: Hampshire Police

A cannabis factory with more than 500 plants has been discovered at a business property in Eastleigh.

Police are investigating after locating the factory at Renown Close in Chandler’s Ford on Tuesday, April 5.

They estimate around 500 to 600 plants were inside the commercial building which are in the process of being seized as evidence. 

Eastleigh District Commander, Chief Inspector Marcus Cator, said: "This police activity was conducted off the back of intelligence and information submitted to us by the local community, who were concerned about drug-related activity in their area.

"As a result, we have managed to take action which will hopefully go some way to disrupting local drug-related activity and protect others from drug-related harm."  

More than 500 cannabis plants were discovered. Credit: Hampshire Police

Officers add that there is likely to be a large police presence in the area over the next few days while they continue enquiries and ascertain the exact circumstances relating to the drug cultivation activity.

No arrests have been made at this stage and enquiries into identifying those in the property remain ongoing.

Chief Inspector Cator added: "If anyone has any information about this, then please do engage with officers at the scene – any information, no matter how small or insignificant you think it might be, could help aid our investigation.

"We are aware that local residents will think, it’s just a bit of cannabis and that this is not a big issue, but we want to stress that any production of drugs is linked to hidden harm.

"Large scale operations like this are often run by organised crime gangs.

"Those gangs are likely to engage in very serious violence involving weapons, such as firearms. They may also take advantage of vulnerable people, exploiting them or making them work in servitude.

Police say no arrests have been made at this stage Credit: Hampshire Police

"The electrical requirement to grow this many plants is also really dangerous and can be a huge fire risk, putting neighbouring properties, and lives in danger."

Police say SSE have been supporting them with enquiries. They found that the electric supply to the building has not been compromised in any way.

"It is not just a bit of cannabis, it’s linked to serious criminality", said Chief Inspector Cator.

"That’s why we are really keen to hear from people who suspect there is cannabis cultivation or drug related activity taking place in their neighbourhood.

"Every call you make to us is logged and reviewed by our local Neighbourhood Policing Teams and helps us build up an intelligence picture about what might be happening in your community.

"This allows us to take action and prevent your neighbourhoods from harm." 

Although enquiries are ongoing, police say there is no wider risk to the community.