This is the moment when police officers discover a huge “soccer field-sized” cannabis farm in Gateshead.
The massive drug factory is estimated to have 3,000 plants, with a road value of £ 2 million, says Northumbria police.
Police discovered the farm after an officer noticed a strong smell on the Team Valley commercial estate.
Community support agent Martin Jobling was on patrol at Valentine’s Day funfair when he noticed the stench.
Acting inspector Warren Sturrock attended the scene to assist and together they were able to identify the warehouse in question and gain access to the property.
Once inside, they discovered a number of people in the factory and three foreign nationals were subsequently arrested on charges of producing a class B drug with the intention of supplying them.
Posting on Twitter, Northumbria police said: “Talk about following your nose! A soccer field-sized cannabis farm was discovered in #TeamValley thanks to the nose of a moving bobby – with an estimated road value of £ 2 million. “
A criminal investigation has now been initiated by the Northumbria police which will be supported by Immigration Enforcement and other partner agencies.
Sturrock today praised the vigilance of his officers and said he showed that community police are at the heart of the fight against organized crime.
He said: “This is a sophisticated drug supply operation that could have seen millions of pounds of cannabis being delivered to retailers across our region.
“This kidnapping will have put a huge dent in the pockets of the organized crime group responsible, but we won’t stop there and a criminal investigation is well underway.
“We have arrested three suspected cannabis growers in the factory and are now working to determine who is involved in this sophisticated operation.
“This is clearly not a small cannabis farm to help relieve pain, this is an industrial sized farm that is lining the pockets of serious criminals and will not be tolerated.
“Under the banner of Operation Sentinel, our approach dedicated to fighting serious and organized crime, we will continue to work with our partners and engage with communities and target suspects proactively in order to stop crime and protect the public”.
A / Insp Sturrock added: “I want to praise Martin who was on patrol in a local funfair and acted on his instincts when he smelled cannabis and knew something was wrong.
“It shows that community police have an important role to play in the fight against organized crime and this makes me very proud.
“We will continue to patrol our local communities and interact with residents in our area. If you have information that could help us, pick up the phone and get in touch. “
Suspects remain in custody and are assisting officers in the investigation.