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The cannabis farm discovered by firefighters. Photo supplied by Tony Harland.
Firefighters discovered a cannabis farm after they were called out to a fire at a flat off Picton Road in Wavertree.
The farm, thought to have contained around 250 cannabis plants, was uncovered by fire crews, who attended a fire at the premises at around 10.30pm on Monday, April 13.
"The growing of cannabis also brings dangers to neighbouring properties. In this case, damage was unfortunately caused to the shop below and neighbouring residents were temporarily evacuated while emergency services dealt with the incident.
"Cannabis farms are a serious fire risk. Those who set up these farms often tamper with electricity meters to steal electricity, and there will generally be a number of hot lamps hooked to overloaded electricity sockets and an extensive watering system.
"Electricity and water are never a good combination and the fire service have seen an increase in the number of fires they have been called to as a result of fires caused by the crude systems put in place by the people who set up these farms.”
Three fire appliances and an aerial appliance were called out. The first floor and second floor of the premises were severely damaged by fire.
Fire crews were at the scene until just before 3.10am the next day.
The flat contained evidence of cannabis production in several rooms over two floors. Police officers removed cannabis growing equipment. The electricity was also found to have been illegally bypassed.
The cause of the fire is suspected to have been an electrical fault in the equipment.
Cannabis farms and locations where cannabis is grown are dangerous. They pose a great risk to members of the public and firefighters. Tampering with the electricity supply or wiring in a property can cause a fire. Bypassing electricity can cause metal in a building to become “live” therefore raising the risks of electrocution.
Detective Constable Charlie Carney, of Merseyside Police, said: "Cannabis cultivation by criminal gangs can cause serious harm in our communities. Criminal groups involved in cultivating cannabis are usually involved in other serious organised crime and they often rent residential properties such as this flat.
Partnership work helped a Watch Manager detect a cannabis farm in St Helens.
Watch Manager Gary Spain visited a house on Chiltern Road, on April 7, following a referral from social landlord, Helena Housing, about a burnt sofa and piles of wood in the rear garden.
He notified police after he became concerned that cannabis was being grown in the house and police later confirmed it was a cannabis farm.
Watch Manager Spain, who is currently on other duties with
St Helens District Prevention Team, said: “On arrival, I could see what appeared to be an empty house, with the upstairs windows covered with newspapers, both front and back.
“There was clear access to the rear of the property where I could see the wood pile and burnt sofa.
“It was then that I noticed a smell of cannabis in the air and the noise of fans coming from upstairs.
“I notified the police and expressed my concerns.
They confirmed that it was indeed a cannabis farm.”
Fire damage caused to the premises where the cannabis farm was discovered. Photo supplied by Tony Harland.
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