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Officers uncover £500k of cannabis in South Woodham Ferrers

By Essex Chronicle  |  Posted: May 10, 2012

  • South Woodham drugs factory

  • South Woodham drugs factory

  • South Woodham drugs factory

  • HAUL: The plants found at the South Woodham drugs factory

  • led away: Officers with the arrested man at the drugs factory

  • 7 Middleton Row

  • RAM RAID: Police bash down the door of the property

  • Sgt John Hallworth

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MORE than 400 cannabis plants were discovered when police officers raided a quiet cul-de-sac in South Woodham Ferrers on Sunday.

The haul, which has an estimated street value of £500,000, was seized by officers and an Asian man found in the house in Middleton Row was arrested.

After the police bashed the door down with a battering ram, they found the house had been converted into a sophisticated network of heat lamps, wired illegally to the mains, to create the ideal conditions for the plants to thrive.

Sergeant John Hallworth of the Maldon and South Woodham Ferrers neighbourhood policing team said: "Often these type of drug factories are found in seemingly normal and quiet residential streets.

"We had received intelligence that there was a man coming and going at odd times and the windows had been papered over.

"These signs led us to believe the house was being used to grow drugs but obviously we didn't know on what scale until we got in there.

"We found around 400 plants in a range of different stages."

Having received intelligence suggesting the property was being used for the production of drugs, Sergeant Hallworth and his team acted just before 5.30pm.

Sergeant Hallworth added: "From receiving information to the actual raid taking place can all happen rather quickly; I'd say this took a matter of weeks.

"We had to be really careful when entering the house because these type of properties could be booby-trapped or all the electrics could be wired in a very dangerous way.

"This property was completely adapted to the production of drugs and this raid was a success in that we've stopped these drugs going out on to the market.

"We didn't expect there to be anyone in the house at the time of the raid but a man was found and subsequently arrested."

The 32-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of producing Class B drugs and extracting electricity without authority.

He has been released on police bail until July 12 while police inquiries continue.

PC Bill Evans from South Woodham police said: "The house just looks so normal from the outside, which is often the case in these type of things.

"I came to see the property at night once and the whole house was in darkness, except when you looked through the keyhole there was a bright glow.

"The neighbours had no idea anything suspicious was going on, they just thought the house had been recently purchased and someone was coming and going to check on it.

"It shows that these things go on in quiet streets and it's important for people to alert the police to any unusual activity they notice, no matter how small it might be."

Sergeant Hallworth appealed for anyone with any information about the production of drugs to call their local police station on 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

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  • Focusonpeace  |  May 18 2012, 7:51PM

    @Rhollamby, what you say is true, education is not a priority yet incarceration is. Its a shame thats the way our government works. The amount of people who use cannabis, not to get high, but to stay healthy is staggering, I couldnt believe how many symptoms cannabis can help with. a wide range of disparate diseases and pathological conditions, ranging from mood and anxiety disorders, movement disorders such as Parkinson's and Huntington's disease, neuropathic pain, multiple sclerosis and spinal cord injury, to cancer, atherosclerosis, myocardial infarction, stroke, hypertension,glaucoma, obesity/metabolic syndrome, and osteoporosis, to name just a few. How can our government know this yet still force people into the black economy? Arresting them and in many cases jailing them. The home office allow GW pharma to grow tons and tons of high grade cannabis for people suffering from MS, extracting the cannabis oils into tinctures, its basically cannabis in a bottle and at 27% THC its stronger than the most potent raw cannabis flower in Holland. Yet if my mate was to grow the same strain of cannabis, its an evil psychosis educing drug and its bad, and he will most likely end up in prison. How are they allowed to get away with this? The general attitude is 'don't question authority' and simply 'drugs are bad' (grouping cannabis with hard drugs like cocaine and heroine)...Yet GW pharma grow skunk, and then its medicinal. Cannabis is just a tip of the ice burg when it comes to government corruption, im usually cynical and rarely believe everything Im told unless the evidence is presented. But this is very hard to ignore.

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  • Rhollamby  |  May 18 2012, 12:41PM

    I just received this in my inbox. Might be worth joining in...... "Metropolitan Police Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe is hosting his next regular interactive, live webchat on Tuesday 22 May giving Londoners an opportunity to ask him questions. Join the webchat between 15:30 and 16:30hrs at http://tinyurl.com/6uxqj23 You can also join the discussion on Twitter using #AskMetBoss Over 800 people have joined the Commissioner during his recent webchats, questioning him on a variety of topics including racism, drugs, uniform and terrorism. During the April webchat the highest levels of questions were received so far and the Commissioner answered as many as possible during the hour-long session hosted on the MPS website. The webchats are part of the Commissioner's commitment to speaking directly with members of the public to find out their views on how the MPS can be the best police service."

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  • Rhollamby  |  May 18 2012, 12:21PM

    As a kind of post script to my last comment, I note that today Mark Harper has described Lobbying as "A perfectly reputable activity". Is that really so? How can the general public know? Do we need to know who is behind the lobbying of ministers? Is it any of our business who is promoting their agenda above yours, and what that agenda is? Anyway, the upshot seems to be that any change in disclosure rules has been put on the back-burner (my guess is it will stay there a long while) so if you want decriminalisation to be promoted, it looks like all you need to do is employ a lobbyist. Just like the banks and other major corporates do. I know this because I used to work for one of them.

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  • Rhollamby  |  May 18 2012, 8:32AM

    I agree, education rather than criminalisation must be the way to handle any issue. I once asked a doctor how much salt is appropriate. His reply? "Too much salt can kill you; not enough salt can kill you". Education of the population is not desirable for Governments however. There is no incentive for them to educate and in fact the opposite is probably true. As well as cannabis which is the example we are discussing here, a more obvious example of government's need to keep the population confused, is money. Why is money (its creation, distribution, use and abuse, etc) not taught in schools as part of a compulsory syllabus? Is it not important? Is it satisfactory that people are kept ignorant of the subject of money, and of Capitalism? Does it affect the lives of every individual? Can its abuse lead to terrible things, including death - through murder, or suicide, or chronic worry? So teach people about it (but then government would not have half the tax revenue nor be able to control the population by debt and inevitable boom and bust. Politicians need scapegoats, usually 'us', and they rely upon ignorance (and the media, as you know) to control the population. Otherwise, how else would they ever scare a sufficient number of people into believing that if it was not for the existence of Government and the security forces they make us all pay for, we would have terrorists or murderers around every corner. I have no real definite answer as to why successive governments continue to ban things - including cannabis - but I do not think education of the masses is on their agenda, mostly. I guess one needs to look at who is pulling the strings of government - and I do not include the average voter in that equation - to understand who benefits from all this. One thing for sure, it will probably be about money and/or power.

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  • Focusonpeace  |  May 17 2012, 8:14PM

    @Rhollamby I believe the line should be drawn between a cannabis user, and a cannabis abuser. Education IS needed, non biased education showing all the positives, but then the negatives if abused. Its not just about simply saying 'drugs are bad'. Comparing a wine connoisseur who drinks on the weekend or just evenings(looking to relax), to some one who drinks special brew every night and day(looking to loose consciousness). They are completely different people, so i think when cannabis is decriminalized, an attitude should be encouraged to not abuse cannabis if your a recreational user. Medicinal users on the other hand should listen to scientists and doctors, not politicians or scare mongering media like the daily mail.

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  • Rhollamby  |  May 17 2012, 12:39PM

    @Focusonpeace Many thanks for the links. There does need to be some real thought put into this subject and one must question as to why then it is still illegal. I am certainly learning more by this sort of discussion with you and it seems that my late mother might have had her last few years in less discomfort had those who make decisions on our behalf been more pragmatic about cannabis derivatives. A slight digression, I watched a brief debate last evening between a man who was applying to license brothels to accommodate demand from tourists during the Olympics, and a female MP who was firmly against it. It is easy to draw certain parallels between legalising and regulating certain drugs, and prostitution. Instinctively I am against legalisation but his arguments were robust. Both cannabis and prostitution are legalised in Amsterdam, I believe. I thought further and recalled that the Swiss experimented with legalisation of the drugs trade in certain areas such as the park behind the Bahnhof in Zurich but they stopped that when they found it did nothing at all to solve the problems. Interestingly, firearm ownership is encouraged in Switzerland but they do not seem to have a high firearm crime rate. On the other hand, here in our UK cities we do have an illegal firearm problem. I am sure there must be many parallels like this to prove that prohibition does not work, but licensing and regulation might be a better way? Where to draw the line though......

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  • Focusonpeace  |  May 16 2012, 4:01PM

    @ Rhollamby Good points, i think the biggest thing about a change in the law is so regulation of cannabis can be closely followed. So your teenage child wont be able to buy cannabis, simply because all the good quality is sold in lets say, 'dispensaries' or 'coffee shops', where ID is needed, drug dealers dont need ID. Cannabis is safer compared to alcohol and tobacco. Personally, i think cannabis should be legal to grow for personal use... Lets not forget all the new scientific studies on cannabis. http://tinyurl.com/cdkszxr http://tinyurl.com/5rk42xk http://tinyurl.com/6roqaqf http://tinyurl.com/2ak5x56 If you dont know much about cannabis science i suggest you read, quite interesting. :)

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  • Rhollamby  |  May 16 2012, 8:46AM

    @Focusonpeace, I could accept a change in the law but laws have a tendency to create confusion and loopholes, so I prefer my suggested remedy to bad law, that is to say Do Not Enforce The Law. Don't try to change it, just ignore it. If enough people ignored bad laws the enforcement of that law is impossible anyway as the "security forces" and the courts could not possibly cope. If that sounds anarchistic then I guess it is however there are probably many thousands of bad laws that remain on the Statutes but are not enforced and have not been enforced for centuries in some cases. I have quoted one example already - the Longbow Statute. And another Statute bars anyone other than a medic or a minister from carrying out their trade on a Sunday. So technically if a police officer arrests you on a Sunday he or she is possibly breaking the law. But try telling that to the Judge. You see, laws create loopholes and are sometimes best left on the statute books to wither and rot. The problem as I see it is enforcement of the (bad) law. Law enforcers have a choice to prosecute or not. Here's a more contemporary comparison: Much EU Law is supposed to apply across all States. But as I am sure you know, the British for example rigorously apply the rules and prosecute miscreants. The French on the other hand often tend to take a more - shall we say, relaxed - view. You may recall the wooden butchers block and knife handle versus plastic shenanigans. Thousands of small British butchers were threatened with prosecution for non-compliance. The French ignored it. Hey presto the law was "lost". However, if it makes people happier to repeal or change laws, then OK I will go along with that argument. But please, please, PLEASE do not quote leading experts to me viz. "every leading expert on the subject knows this". Every "leading expert" will have told you at one time or another that bailing out investment banks and continuing to pay the bankers obscene rewards for continued failure is necessary to attract their unique talent; or that it is safe to work in asbestos factories. Or that diesel is cleaner than petrol. Or that plastic chopping boards are safer than wooden ones. I kid you not. The list is longer than your arm. I am unsure about cannabis effects - I have never experienced them - but the argument that users do not harm others is a bit nebulous. Motorists are prosecuted for doing 45 mph in a 40 mph limit on a clear road at 5.30 a.m. Or maybe failing to stop at a red light. Or exceeding the average speed through 10 miles of unmanned roadworks. Why, when they have hurt no-one? Because, say "leading experts" you MIGHT hurt someone and perhaps this is the argument that law enforcers use with respect to cannabis. For the avoidance of doubt, should you feel I am pro-prohibition, if I discovered that my teenage children were experimenting with cannabis, I would simply advise them to be careful. As I would do with tobacco, alcohol, excessive salt, and processed foods.

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  • Focusonpeace  |  May 15 2012, 8:42PM

    @Rhollamby People dont smoke cannabis because its illegal, even though because its illegal it does have a forbidden fruit factor. People smoke cannabis for all types of reasons, some do it to relax after a hard days work, some do it because they have MS and cannabis relieves the symptoms. Cannabis has a wide range of medicinal applications. Throwing people in jail for not harming anyone else, is not the answer, the law DOES need changing, every leading expert on the subject knows this. We need to stop this war on drugs, it creates gang culture and destroys lives! Safe access to cannabis for medicinal cannabis users or recreational smokers is whats needed. Throwing people in jail for 'getting high'. or self medicating is simply wrong. We need to be offering them support and help, not punishing them. Holland's economy is gonna take a blow, the dutch government messed up. Many many people believe that the new dutch government coming into power soon will reverse the new laws, allowing Anyone to purchase from dutch coffee shops and dispensaries.

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  • Rhollamby  |  May 15 2012, 2:02PM

    CatAstrophe, I drink alcohol because it's legal but have never taken cannabis, because it's illegal. I have never indulged in crime or violence, because they are illegal. Because the Longbow Statute has never been rescinded or repealed however, I break the law all the time. As do many of us, I suspect. The law does not have to be changed, the police and judiciary simply need to stop enforcing it and prosecuting cannabis users and the law just falls out of use in the same way as has the Longbow Statute. Ooer, I may have the police round tonight placing me under arrest for not doing my archery practice ....

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