A VILLAGE was at the centre of a major drugs bust this week when police raided a rural home and recovered cannabis plants with a street value of more than £250,000.
The discovery of more than 500 plants was made at a four-bedroom bungalow at Stoney Middleton.
Acting on a tip-off, a team of cops swooped on Lomas Croft at around 2.30pm on Monday, and forced their way in. Along with the plants, they found cultivating equipment and special lighting.
No-one was found on the premises at Mill Lane, but officers were there until late evening clearing them out and documenting the drugs. The police say it was a professional operation, and are keen for more information from anyone who can help.
Matlock’s Inspector Bryan Hall said: “Inquiries are now ongoing to arrest the persons involved in this operation but it is clear that this is a major success in the local war against the illegal drugs market which I know is of great concern to the community of the Derbyshire Dales.”
One nearby resident, who did not wish to be named, watched as the police brought the mature plants out from the property.
She said: “They were tapping all the soil into the garden and we could see the plants, they were huge, we’ve never seen anything like it. The police were on the patio taking photos of them.
“It was unbelievable how much they brought out. The place has been empty for about six months, we couldn’t believe it when the police came to tell us.
“There were eight police cars there and it was quite scary. You just don’t realise something like this could be so close.”
Another neighbour added: “It’s been a bit weird at that house for a while because there’s been nobody living there properly.”
Insp Hall urged people to be vigilant with suspicious properties.
“The public need to be aware that these operations can be set up in residential properties,” he added.
“If any premises have recently changed hands and there appears to be no regular sign of the new occupiers; if people are coming and then leaving after short periods of time; if there is a strong smell of vegetable matter or condensation at the windows, then people must call the police.
“We will only be too pleased to investigate. The supply and possession of drugs is one of our top priorities and I will be grateful to any member of the public who is able to assist us in combating this criminality.”
Anyone with information or would like to report suspicious behaviour should call the police non-emergency phone line on 101.