Police net £500k haul in cannabis farm swoop

POLICE have uncovered a cannabis farm containing around 1000 plants with a street value of £500,000 after a raid on a house in Midlothian.

Officers found the cultivation, believed to be among the biggest ever discovered in the Lothians, in Whitehill Village in Dalkeith yesterday.

A team of officers broke down the front door of the detached house and found a massive haul of plants producing the Class B drug stuffed in every part of the property.

Both the main house and its double garage in the secluded street were believed to have been used to grow the crop using hydroponic equipment.

A 36-year-old man was arrested and charged in connection with the cultivation, and he was due to appear at Edinburgh Sheriff Court yesterday.

Forensic officers spent yesterday removing electric cables, bags of fertiliser, lighting and plastic sheets, which were loaded into waiting vans.

Other waste items from the cultivation were dumped into a skip in the drive while the windows were opened to fumigate the building.

The raid was carried out as part of Operation Erase, a crackdown which has seen dozens of alleged drug dealers arrested across Midlothian and East Lothian during raids.

A nearby resident, who asked not to be named, said: "I saw the police van pull up the drive but I wasn't sure what was going on until they started removing all this stuff. They've taken out things like electrical boards with sockets which must've been for all the lights.

"They must have been growing the cannabis in the double garage as well as the house. All the windows were opened by the police, I assume to get rid of the smell.

"I don't know who was living there but they were probably just renting the place. You wouldn't expect something like that to be happening on your own doorstep."

A police spokesman said: "Approximately 1000 plants were discovered in the raid, which was undertaken as part of Operation Erase, an ongoing initiative targeting drug supply across Midlothian and East Lothian."

Cannabis plants worth 2 million were seized in the Lothians between last April and March.

A total of 12,320 plants were discovered in 133 raids, with most being grown in flats, houses and farm buildings.

The figure represents a massive rise on the previous year when only 275,000 worth of plants were found by the force.