Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

At Centre of Drugs War; CITY SUBURB'S GROWING REPUTATION AS A FOCUS FOR CANNABIS FARMS

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

At Centre of Drugs War; CITY SUBURB'S GROWING REPUTATION AS A FOCUS FOR CANNABIS FARMS

Article excerpt

Byline: ADAM JUPP

A HAT-TRICK of hash farms worth pounds 1m have been smashed in just three days in the same corner of Tyneside.

Police seized more than 1,500 cannabis plants when they busted the trio of DIY dope factories, all in Fenham, in Newcastle's West End.

There have now been 12 farms raided in the suburb since January, with drugs worth more than pounds 3.2m recovered.

Officers stormed a house in Powburn Gardens after receiving tip-offs from members of the public about the illicit operation.

Inside they found 388 plants capable of producing cannabis with a street value of pounds 209,520. They sealed off the property as the crops were removed.

The following day, a second search warrant was used on a house on nearby Wingrove Road where 540 plants with a street value of pounds 432,000, was found.

And 24 hours later, police were back on Powburn Gardens after a landlady reported her suspicions there was a dope factory inside a house she owned.

This time 740 cannabis plants were discovered. They would have yielded high-grade skunk worth pounds 407,000 if sold.

Insp Steve Hails said: "Drugs can have a devastating impact on individuals and families, and we are doing everything we can to keep drugs away from our communities.

"The latest discovery brings to 12 the number of cannabis farms found and dismantled in Fenham and Scotswood since January.

"In the latest incident, officers acted on information received from the community and this discovery means a large amount of drugs has been prevented from being sold on the streets of Newcastle.

"This proves when we receive information we'll act on it and that we will keep the local community informed of the actions we take in their local area." At all three farms, the villains behind them had tapped into neighbouring electricity supplies to power the heating and lighting equipment needed to grow the crops.

Each time, power firms had to be called out to make the addresses safe before searches could take place.

At the first Powburn Gardens raids, Hoai Tran, 40, was arrested and has been charged with being concerned in the production of cannabis.

The raid on Wingrove Road is the third on the same street in a matter of months.

In March, 685 cannabis plants - along with several large bags of the newly-classified Class B drug - were recovered from a flat.

The dope had an estimated street value of pounds 342,500 and police went to arrest six men. A month earlier, a separate apartment was busted and 360 plants recovered. A 16-year-old Vietnamese youth was arrested.

After the latest strike, Y Lee Veuyn, 49, was picked up and charged with being concerned in the production of cannabis.

Insp Hail said: "It should also send a clear message to anyone involved in the distribution of drugs - they will not profit from their actions. …

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