PICTURES: Huge £1m cannabis farm found in ex- Coventry nightclub - Albanians and Vietnamese arrested
A FORMER nightclub was converted into a huge cannabis factory across three floors with plants worth an estimated £1 million on the streets.
Officers from the National Crime Agency (NCA) used metal saws to cut through several reinforced doors to enter the sophisticated grow operation in Trinity Street, Coventry.
REINFORCED: NCA officers sawing through doors to get to the grow
An NCA spokesman said: "When they got inside they discovered around 1000 cannabis plants spread across the building’s three floors. NCA experts value the haul at over £1 million.
"As well as the plants officers recovered sophisticated planting, growing and irrigation equipment, valued at around £150,000."
BIG LOSS: Plants were valued at £1 million on the streets with specialist grow equipment £150,000
Two men were arrested as they tried to flee the building with a West Midlands Police drone following them.
A third man was also arrested during Thursday's operation.
NCA branch Commander Adam Warnock said: “This is a significant drug seizure which will have a huge impact on the organised crime groups involved, depriving them of commodity and profit.
“The size of the cannabis factory was significant and sophisticated, spread across three floors of a large building. It is certainly one of the largest grows ever uncovered by the NCA.
“Operations like this underline the value and power of working with law enforcement partners like West Midlands Police to take down high-harm criminals.
“Our investigation into this seizure continues.”
All three men were subsequently charged with production of a class B drug.
Albanian national Andi Qani, 24, and Vietnamese national Cao Van Vu, 31, appeared before Coventry magistrates on Friday where they were remanded in custody until their next court appearance at Warwick Crown Court.
The third man, Albanian national Adrian Lieshaj, 28, was found to be wanted by German authorities for robbery offences and is the subject of a European Arrest Warrant.
He was taken to Westminster Magistrates court yesterday in order for the extradition matter to be heard, when the case was adjourned.
The operation was supported by officers from the West Midlands Police Cannabis Disruption Team.
Ch Supt Lee Wharmby, head of West Midlands Police’s Operations department, said: “Our pilots helped detain two people using our state-of-the art drones equipped with thermal imaging cameras.
“It’s always great when we can help out a partner agency. Our job is to protect the public and drones are invaluable to us.”
All images NCA.