POLICE with a keen sense of smell uncovered a huge cannabis factory worth hundreds of thousands of pounds.
They discovered around 1,100 plants inside a former Chinese takeaway on Blackburn Road, Accrington.
The discovery was one of THREE cannabis finds within a week in Hyndburn.
Sergeant Graham Brown-smith and PCSO Rikky Gall-acher were patrolling the Accrington area on their bicycles when they noticed the distinctive smell of cannabis coming from the Magic Wok.
A search warrant was issued and police raided the property at around 2.30pm on Monday.
Officers found 1,100 plants – 400 mature and 700 infant plants – crammed into all three floors of the property along with heating equipment.
PCSO Gallacher said: “It’s really pleasing to be directly involved in such a large drugs find. We have taken a large amount of drugs off the streets of Accrington and it’s a great result for us. It sends a clear message to others cultivating cannabis.”
Crime scene investigators photographed and seized the plants and heating equipment.
Sergeant Brownsmith added: “A significant amount of cannabis was found during this raid. The scale was immense, there were plants in every nook and cranny.
“Police in Accrington are constantly looking to crack down on the illegal production and distribution of drugs and we welcome any help from the community.”
No-one has yet been arrested and police inquiries are continuing. In another find, firemen were shocked to discover a cannabis factory in Huncoat after being called out to a house blaze.
They went to Station Road shortly before 5.30am last Friday after a blaze broke out in the front room of the house. On entering, crews discovered what was described as a substantial cannabis factory.
No-one was in the house at the time of the incident.
Police were notified of the blaze and Inspector Stuart Bruce said: “There were dozens of plants at different stages of growth as well as a hydroponics system to grow the plants.’’
It is thought the fire was started because of an electrical fault in the hydroponics system.
The cannabis could be smelled all over Station Road for much of Friday but police assured residents there was no major risk.
Police could not search the property until United Utilities had made it safe.
Neighbours told police a number of people had been seen going in and out of the premises, particularly several men described as east Asian.
Inspector Bruce said: “Inquiries are still ongoing and we are searching for the owner of the house and the person responsible for cultivating the plants.
“It is a significant find and we will continue to search for the person or persons responsible.”
Cannabis worth £3,000 was also discovered at houses in Horne Street, Accrington, following a police raid on Monday last week. Officers carried out a search of two properties where they found 20 cannabis plants as well as cropped plants.
Sergeant Paul Ryan said: “This could be described as a small cannabis farm. Similar amounts were found in both properties.”
A 30-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of possessing a class C drug with intent to supply and money laundering. Another man is being sought by police in connection with the incident.
Anyone with information about any of these incidents is asked to ring 353749 or 353103 or call Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.