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Police swoop on solar powered drugs factory
A huge cannabis factory powered by more than one hundred solar panels has been discovered by police.
Up to 115 solar panels were found installed on the roof of a warehouse building after police were alerted to reports of cannabis being cultivated.
A man who works just yards from the factory, containing 1,000 plants worth £500,000, last night said: “They must be Sussex’s greenest suspected drug dealers.
“The roof of the building where the drugs were found is absolutely covered in solar panels – absolutely covered.
“They have been there for about six months and we thought it was strange.
“No other building in the estate has solar panels like that. And they are not your conventional ones. They are industrial-style panels.”
Another woman who works at the Mackley Industrial Estate, Henfield Road, Small Dole, near Henfield, where the plants were discovered on Tuesday, January 29 said: “There were police at the back of the estate but it is massive.”
A Sussex Police spokeswoman refused to confirm exactly how many solar panels were used.
She said: “There were a number of solar panels as well as other lights and drug-growing paraphernalia found at the unit.”
Inspector Clare McKnight added: “The police acted on information provided by our local community, and recovered a significant amount of cannabis.
"Drugs have a large impact on many, many people within the community and are often linked to other crime such as burglary and theft.
“Drugs have a devastating effect on a wide variety of people and the police in Horsham are committed to holding those to account who are involved with illegal drugs.”
This is one of the bigger hauls of cannabis found in Sussex. In 2011, plants worth about £1m were found in Rope Walk, Littlehampton, and in 2010, cannabis resin worth an estimated £9m was discovered at a home in Hailsham.
In relation to the Small Dole raid, a 33-year-old Burgess Hill woman, a 40-year-old Brighton man and a 55-year-old Hove man have been arrested on suspicion of production of cannabis and bailed until April 25.
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