Two live-in gardeners were caught red-handed in one of the largest cannabis factories ever found in the county.
Police arrested two Vietnamese men, believed to be in their 20s, who had been eating and sleeping among 2,000 cannabis plants with an estimated street value of £700,000 in a warehouse in Lancaster Road, Kettering, yesterday afternoon.
PC Simon Johnson, who led a dozen officers in a raid on the warehouse, said: “It’s massive because there is a big impact on local crime.
“If drugs are freely available in the streets people will commit crime to feed their habit.
“This is one of the largest cannabis factories we have ever found.”
When officers broke through the eight-foot gates hiding the factory from the residential street they found four rooms of plants in various stages of growth.
A metre-square circuit board managed the ventilation system, heat lamps light and fans. Plastic sheet sectioned off and insulated different areas of the farm.
The Vietnamese ‘gardeners’, who are in custody at Corby Police Station, had their own sleeping area and kitchen.
PC Johnson said: “They were pretty much self-contained in the factory.”
Intelligence officers had been watching the factory since members of the public tipped them off in February.
Officers surrounded the building at about 1pm before cutting through the lock and bursting in on the surprised workers.
Four PCSOs guarded the black gates as uniformed constables and plain clothes officers arrested the men.
Forensics experts then came in to document and gather the evidence.
Police have uncovered 166 cannabis farms in the county in the past year.
Before yesterday the highest number of plants found in one factory in the past year was 1,882.
Nationally more than twice as many cannabis factories were found in the past year as four years ago.
PC Johnson said: “We are finding cannabis factories on industrial premises more frequently because the profit margins are way higher than those of dealing class A drugs on the street.
“This is a significant discovery and from my point of view it’s quite satisfying because it’s intelligence led.”