Police dismantle three-floor cannabis farm in disused Prudhoe social club

Almost 650 cannabis farms were found to be growing in the venue. Credit: Northumbria Police

A man has appeared in court after a large cannabis farm spanning three floors of a disused social club was discovered.

There were almost 650 plants - with an estimated street value of up to £437,500 - growing in the premises in Prudhoe, Northumberland.

The former social club in West Road was raided by officers from the North East Regional Organised Crime Unit (NEROCU) with the support of Northumbria Police on Friday 19 April.

Staff from Northern Power Grid also attended to rectify the "complex electrical set up" that had been compromised.

A 59-year-old man was arrested and charged with the production of Class B drugs.

Thanh Truong, of West Road, Prudhoe, appeared at Newcastle Magistrates’ Court on Saturday and entered a guilty plea. He has since been remanded in custody awaiting sentencing on 20 May.

NEROCU Detective Sergeant Andrea Smith said: "This farm had the potential to generate hundreds and thousands of pounds in criminal cash, which we know is often then invested in wider organised crime such as Class A drug supply, firearms, modern slavery and child sexual exploitation.

“This has been the result of an excellent partnership effort from the NEROCU, along with local neighbourhood officers and the Serious Violence Team from Northumbria Police and trained search teams.

“It shows the commitment to tackling and disrupting Serious and Organised Crime in the region, something which will continue under the banner of Operation Sentinel.”

Detective Inspector Jude Scott, of Northumbria Police, said: “We’re always happy to support our partners at the NEROCU so we can tackle this form of criminality together.

“A farm of this size would turn a significant profit and then be likely reinvested into further criminal activity and, thanks to our joint efforts, that will no longer be possible.

“Those involved in this type of behaviour have no consideration for the repercussions of their actions on the community.”

Have you heard our new podcast Talking Politics? Every week Tom, Robert and Anushka dig into the biggest issues dominating the political agenda…