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UPDATE: Worthing flat fire broke out in large cannabis factory
Firefighters battling a flat fire came across a cannabis factory last night.
Evidence of a large-scale drug-growing operation was found in the severely fire-damaged Worthing flat.
Firefighters were called to Sailsbury Road at 8.30pm last night over fears people may have been trapped inside.
No one was in the flat but a family-of-four living next door were evacuated as a precaution.
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Six pumps called to battle the first-floor blaze.
Ten officers entered the building with breathing apparatus and found hydroponic lights used for cannabis cultivation.
A police source said early indications were that the fire had started upstairs in the cannabis factory.
The building is a house coverted into flats.
Due to the severe damage it was difficult to establish how many plants were inside but police described it as large.
No cause for the fire has yet been established.
Two fire hydrants, two high-pressure hose-reels and three thermal imaging cameras were used to get the fire under control.
A stop message came in at 10.30pm.
Police are appealing for information about suspicious behaviour or drug dealing at the flat.
Detective Sergeant Colin O'Hare, of West Sussex CID, said: "The home was split into several flats and the top floor flat had been turned into a cannabis factory with hydroponics equipment.
"We'd like to speak to anyone who has any information who may have noticed witnessed anything of relevance or an unusual smell coming from the building.
"We would also like to know about who has been visiting the address over the last few weeks and months and hope residents can help us.
"Please contact us if you have any information at all."
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