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DRUGS FARM FOUND AT TIP USED BY COPS.

Byline: Emma McKinney

POLICE have smashed a cannabis factory based at a Birmingham tip.

A haul of 19 plants were seized when officers raided the Perry Barr recycling depot, which is used by thousands of families to dump their rubbish.

The site is run by environmental services firm Veolia, which also has a contract to dispose of West Midlands Police's "specialist waste" - believed to include drugs paraphernalia.

No arrests have yet been made but a source claimed five workers had been suspended after the plants were found in a disused building at the Holford Drive centre.

Veolia would not confirm the allegation.

The firm also denied suggestions that heat lamps used to grow the plants had been seized by police in an earlier raid and were destined for an incinerator.

A former worker at the site, who would not be named, said: "Everyone I've spoken to at the centre is in shock and can't believe drugs have been growing right under their noses. "The contract with the police is a big one and normally armed officers come to the site with the equipment they have seized in drugs raids that needs to be incinerated.

"The police have taken the finger prints of some of the staff and five people have been suspended.

I've been told they also found cannabis resin in some staff lockers.

"It's disgraceful that drugs have been growing at a site used by the public."

The plants were found by members of West Midlands Police's cannabis disposal team following a tip-off that lamps had been rigged up in the disused building.

A force spokesman said: "Officers removed 19 cannabis plants as well as a number of heat lamps.

"The investigation is ongoing and officers are working with the owners to investigate the circumstances. No arrests have yet been made. We do use Veolia Environmental Services. We are working with the management of the company as part of the investigation."

The force would not comment on whether the heat lamps had been previously seized by officers in a separate raid.

A Veolia spokeswoman said: "We can confirm police visited the site in Perry Barr and officers removed any evidence of cannabis that was found on this site to assist with their investigation.

"This matter is by no means related to Veolia's contract with West Midlands Police." Veolia has a multi-million pound 25-year deal with Birmingham City Council to manage all of the city's domestic waste and runs a total of five household recycling centres.

A council spokesman said: "We can confirm cannabis was found at the site in Perry Barr and we are currently co-operating with the police in their investigation."

Anyone with information should call police on 0345 113 5000 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.
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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Mar 31, 2012
Words:460
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