A police raid today uncovered that an abandoned bingo hall was housing one of the biggest cannabis farms ever discovered in County Durham. 

Four people have been arrested after officers executed a magistrates warrant at a disused bingo hall on Main Street in Ferryhill, shortly after 9.30 am this morning, (Wednesday, November 8).

During the search, which saw police and specialist officers dramatically descend on Ferryhill town centre, more than 2,000 cannabis plants and thousands of pounds worth of equipment were located.

The Northern Echo:

The extensive cannabis growing operation spanned over four floors of the building.

Four men, aged 23, 25, 27 and 30, who were believed to be living within the address, were also arrested at the scene on suspicion of production of a class B drug. They remain in custody.

Specialist search officers, who were deployed to the site, seized several other items from the premises including mattresses, fridges, freezers and a large quantity of food.

The Northern Echo:

The food items found have since been donated to a local food bank.

Due to the size and complexities of the property, officers and electricity workers are likely to be in the area for a considerable time removing plants and making the area safe. Disruption is expected, and the police have thanked the public for their cooperation. 

Detective Chief Inspector Mel Sutherland said: “We believe this sophisticated grow and complex set up found in Ferryhill today, is one of the biggest ever Cannabis farms uncovered by Durham Constabulary.

The Northern Echo:

“The timing of this raid was crucial because there were a significant amount of plants which had matured and were packed up, ready for distribution. Today’s activity will serve as a massive disruption to the organised crime group not only in terms of them feeling the financial hit but also in terms of taking out several members of their network.

“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.

The Northern Echo:

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“I would like to thank the community of Ferryhill for their patience, cooperation and ongoing understanding as this operation continues into the evening and tomorrow.”

A spokesperson for Durham Constabulary said: "If you have concerns about potential drug dealing in your community, or notice anyone acting suspiciously, then please report it to us.

"Alternatively, you can report information to Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111."