BUSINESSES could be affected for months after a fire at an industrial estate unit where more than 300 cannabis plants were discovered.

Emergency services were called to Gallowfields Trading Estate in Richmond at about 3pm on Sunday.

Two crews from Richmond and Colborn attended the fire, which officers said had started inside an electricity supply room.

Fire and smoke damage was caused to the fuse board and cabling.

A spokesperson for North Yorkshire Police said a large cannabis grow had been discovered in a building on the site.

Officers attending the scene discovered more than 200 adult plants and a further 100 smaller plants, along with electrical and hydroponics equipment.

Nikki Chandler, who owns The Raw Store, which is based on the estate and supplies raw pet food, says the expansion of her business will be delayed as a result of the fire.

She was due to move into the unit where the plants were discovered as part of her expansion plan.

As it is, she says she could be relying on generators to power her 32 freezers, for between 9 and 19 weeks.

And her other business, Hattie’s Place, which supplies luxury pet accessories, will be affected as it is currently unable to open because of its size and Covid-19 restrictions. She had been hoping to move that business to her existing unit while moving The Raw Store.

She said: “It’s cost me an awful lot of money. We were closed over the bank holiday weekend but we are the account holders so we will have to replace the metre.

“We had no idea it was there. We are taking on the unit because we are expanding the business so that will be delayed until the building is clear.”

She added: “It’s such a shame for local businesses. A couple of traders lost a couple of days work.

“It does have an impact on people but thankfully it’s only a couple of days and thank goodness there were two traders here when it happened.”

Anyone with information which could help the investigation is asked to call 101, quoting reference number 122101101484.

To remain anonymous, contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.