November 30, 2020

Three-floor cannabis farm worth £1m discovered at former nightclub in Coventry

October 17, 2020

A three-floor cannabis farm estimated to be worth more than £1 million has been uncovered at a former nightclub in Coventry.

National Crime Agency (NCA) officers raided the property on Thursday and found 1,000 cannabis plants, making it one of the biggest seizures ever made by the organisation.

Sophisticated planting, growing and irrigation equipment, valued at around £150,000, was also discovered by officers.

Three men have been arrested and charged with production of a class B drug. Two of the suspects were detained with the assistance of the West Midlands Police drone unit as they attempted to flee the building.

Adam Warnock, NCA branch commander, 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."

Andi Qani, 24, and Cao Van Vu, 31, appeared before Coventry magistrates on Friday. They have been remanded in custody until their next hearing at Warwick Crown Court on 12 November

The third man, Adrian Lieshaj, aged 28, is also wanted by German authorities for robbery offences and is the subject of a European Arrest Warrant, the NCA said. He was taken to Westminster Magistrates court for the extradition matter to be heard.

Chief Superintendent Lee Wharmby, head of West Midlands Police's operations department, said drones had been instrumental in making the arrests.

"Our pilots helped detain two people using our state-of-the art drones equipped with thermal imaging cameras," he said.

"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."

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