A MAN has been charged after police sniffed out an alleged cannabis farm containing plants worth an estimated £100,000.
Officers were on patrol in the Millfield area of Sunderland when they followed their noses to the strong smell of the class B drug.
When police swooped on the terraced flat in St Mark’s Road, on Wednesday night, they found 200 plants growing in the loft, along with specialist heating and lighting equipment.
The Northumbria Police helicopter was also scrambled to help, as its hi-tech thermal imaging cameras can spot heat sources given off by sophisticated cannabis-growing equipment.
Cao Thank Long, of no fixed address, has been charged with producing a controlled drug and is due to appear at Sunderland Magistrates’ Court today
Electricity distributor NEDL was called in to the property to make the property safe.
Cannabis growers often bypass the property’s electricity meter to avoid detection.
Scene of crime officers were seen going into the bungalow later that day.
Following the discovery, an 34-year-old Vietnamese national has been arrested. He is now helping police with inquiries.
A spokesman for Northumbria Police said: “About 10.55pm on Wednesday, officers out on patrol in St Mark’s Road identified the smell of cannabis coming from one of the properties in the area.
“Enquiries were carried out and a cannabis farm was discovered in the loft of an address.
“Around 200 plants were recovered along with cultivation equipment.
“A 34-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of cultivating cannabis and is helping police with their inquiries.”
A total of 325 cannabis farms have been uncovered by Northumbria Police in the last five years.
Figures released last May revealed in 2011/12, Northumbria Police unearthed 71 farms, up from 57 the previous year.
The highest number of cannabis farms discoveries was in 2009/10, when officers raided 114.