Police have uncovered one of the largest cannabis farms ever found in Nottinghamshire at a former Indian restaurant.
It was discovered early on Wednesday morning at the former Saffron Tandoori Restaurant in Cordy Lane, Brinsley, after power company workers spotted an electrical surge in the area and contacted police.
Officers forced their way into the building and found a grow set out across two floors, inside five rooms on each floor, supported with around £10,000 worth of heat lamps and ventilation.
There are thought to be more than 1,000 plants, worth an overall street value of more than £0.5 million.
Police arrested a 26-year-old man who was found at the property on suspicion of cannabis production.
Inspector Steve Wragg of Nottinghamshire Police said: “We’d estimate the grow has been here for around three months and it is rare in terms of its size.
“There are only so many places that you can store a grow like this – you couldn’t store this in a house.
“We’ve been seeing grows like this for some considerable time now – but we do get better at identifying the sources of these operations.”
The crop was ripped out by officers on Wednesday morning and taken away to be destroyed.
He added staff from electricity company Western Power Distribution contacted police after a 60 amp fuse in a nearby transformer blew because the makeshift factory was pumping 340 amps through it.
Whoever set up the grow is thought to have bypassed electricity meters to avoid being discovered earlier.
Every room except two toilets and a small area which appeared to have been used as a sleeping area was filled with the plants, hidden behind blacked-out windows.
The building was previously used as Saffron Tandoori Restaurant but this closed down around 16 months ago, nearby residents said. The building has appeared derelict since.
Before the Saffron restaurant, it was also run as the Farm House Indian restaurant, and previously was the Yew Tree pub.
One woman living nearby, who asked not to be named, said: “We didn’t smell anything, we had no idea it was there. Then first thing this morning there are police officers wandering around. It’s not something you want on your doorstep – not with children living nearby.”
Owners of the site submitted a planning application to Broxtowe Borough Council on March 30 to demolish the building and build four new houses.
The owner and applicant could not be immediately reached for comment.
Although among the biggest ever found in the county the find is not Nottinghamshire’s biggest-ever.
This is still believed to be a £1.5 million 3,000-plant farm uncovered at Alexandra House, Watnall Road, Hucknall, in October 2012.