Brazen criminals set up a huge cannabis factory right under shoppers’ noses in Kettering town centre.
A total of 513 plants at various stages of growth, spread across three storeys, were seized during a raid at 54 Gold Street yesterday morning (Thursday).
Police burst into the premises – which were last occupied by the now-closed Colombia Rose coffee shop – just before 7am and man who was inside climbed onto the roof in an attempt to escape across a number of buildings.
A section of the town centre was cordoned off for about three hours as officers negotiated with him. With the support of police and Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service, the man was brought down to safety.
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He was subsequently arrested on suspicion of the cultivation of cannabis and remained in police custody last night.
One nearby shopkeeper said: “It’s not good – what is Kettering coming to?”
The drug farm is not the first to be found in an empty Kettering town centre unit.
In 2019 the town made headlines across the country for the wrong reasons when a cannabis factory was found in the old Gala Bingo in High Street. The 2,000 plants found there were capable of producing drugs worth almost £3m in street value.
In May this year, Northamptonshire’s chief constable Nick Adderley launched the force’s matters of priority for the next three years, which included drug harm along with serious violence, serious and organised crime and violence against women and girls.
A Northamptonshire Police spokesman said: “Tackling and preventing drug harm is a matter of priority for the force and we will continue to act on the concerns of our communities to disrupt activities.
“This is another prime example of how we can work together with our partners and communities to tackle the issues affecting their local area and I would urge the community to keep reporting suspicious activity to us.”
Anyone with concerns in relation to any form of suspected illegal activity should report it to police on 101, online at www.northants.police.uk/ro or by calling Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.