Police seized half a million pounds worth of cannabis plants hidden in a secret room in a recent raid.

Officers received a report of the possible farm at a house on Middle Street, in Blackhall Colliery, County Durham. 

More than 600 plants were seized in the thorough search of the property.

Many of the plants, which were at varying stages of maturity, had been in rooms accessed by a secret door hidden behind a mirror.

About 100 specimens were found in the loft of the property.

They had knocked through into the neighbours loft and were also growing in their property.

A 54-year-old man was arrested at the scene on suspicion of being concerned in the production of a Class B drug. 

Vasil Hasa, of no fixed abode, appeared at Newton Aycliffe Magistrates' Court on November 1 where he admitted the charge.

Officers dismantled the grow and seized the plants, which will be destroyed.

Detective Inspector Darren Wild, of East Durham Volume Crime Team, said: "This was a great team effort from response, neighbourhoods and CID teams who worked quickly and thoroughly to achieve a charge and guilty plea.

"Drugs bring misery to our communities, and we will continue to be relentless in our pursuit to eliminate them from the streets of County Durham and Darlington.

"This grow was not simply ‘just a bit of cannabis’ – organised and extensive grows like this one are often linked to serious and organised crime groups.

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"They are also potentially major fire hazards and put innocent people who live in neighbouring properties in serious danger.

"If you have any concerns about potential drug dealing in your community, or notice anyone acting suspiciously, then please report it to us.

"As this operation has shown, we will always act on intelligence to remove drugs off our streets and make our communities safer."