Emergency Services remain at the scene of a fire at a property being used to cultivate cannabis in Sunbury.
Surrey Fire and Rescue were contacted around 16:45 (30 April) to a house fire in Spelthorne Grove, Sunbury. As they tackled the blaze (which was focused in the roof of the property) they became aware of a large cannabis farm within the loft space, and contacted police. It is believed that the fire was probably caused by an electrical fault caused by the equipment required to grow the plants.
Two people were arrested at the scene on suspicion of production of cannabis. One of the people arrested was taken to hospital for treatment for minor burns, sustained in the fire. Their injuries are not believed to be life changing.
Although the fire is now extinguished, fire and police are likely to remain at the scene for some time as the building will need to be assessed for structural integrity before officers can enter to gather further evidence, and seize any remaining cultivation equipment.
Inspector David Richardson said:
“Thankfully the individuals in this property escaped the fire, and we don’t believe the neighbouring properties have been damaged. Cases like this prove how dangerous cannabis farms can be. They require huge amounts of electricity, and the individuals responsible often bypass the electricity meter and fuse boxes leading to unsafe wiring and the risk of fire. I would urge any one who is suspicious that a property is being used to cultivate cannabis to get in touch with police.”
Signs that a property may be being used as a cannabis factory include:
A distinctive strong and sickly sweet smell
Equipment to grow cannabis being taken into a house. For example, lighting and ventilation equipment.
Sacks of vegetation waste being removed from a house.
Constantly covered or blocked-off windows. Cannabis factories often have constantly pulled curtains, black-out blinds or foil coverings.
Unsociable coming and going at all hours, or neighbours you never see.
Strong and constant lighting day and night.
High levels of heat and condensation. Cannabis factories often give off heat and the windows stay misted up.
Constant buzz of ventilation. Listen out for a whirring sound as the growers try to create an ideal climate for the plants to grow.
Anyone concerned that a property may be being used to cultivate drugs should contact Surrey Police via the online chat function on the website: www.surrey.police.uk. Your information will be responded to by the same team that answer 101 and 999 calls, but reporting online is quicker and easier.