Goodmayes cannabis ‘gardener’ had shrine to avoid capture

A Victorian house being used to grow cannabis with an estimated street value of �150,000 was raided today.

The four-bedroom detached house in Wellwood Road had been fitted with halogen lights in all four upstairs bedrooms, and two of the downstairs reception rooms, where plants varying from fully grown to small buds, were being cultivated. A man was arrested in connection with the find, as he tried to escape from the back door.

Police carried out the raid at 11.15am today, after tip offs from residents and a police helicopter noticing unusual amounts of heat coming from the address.

Sgt Jez Tyler said: “This is just the tip of the iceberg of what will be an organised criminal gang. “The man who we caught today would have been the bottom of this, known as the gardener. Often they come here illegally with the promise of money for sitting in these houses until the plants are fully matured,” he added.

Pc Wes Bickerton added: “Very often there are other issues involved here, such as slavery, as the man will have had no sets of keys to ensure he can’t leave the property.” With only one bedroom, a kitchen and a bathroom in the large house, the suspect had set up a shrine next to his bed, containing fake money notes, which police on the scene explained would be a way of saying sorry for committing the crime, and also to pray for protection from the authorities from finding him.

“It’s so important for residents to remain vigilant,” said Sgt Tyler. “If people see anything out of the ordinary, or smell anything strange, we can take a look.

“The particularly strange thing that would have rung alarm bells in this case was that there was one man living on his own in a four-bedroomed house,” he added.

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Residents who think there may be drugs being grown near their home can telephone the police on 101.