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Strong Pong Alerted Neighbours To Drug

IC Newcastle, 3rd September 2006

An unsuspecting neighbour who lived next to a cannabis farm for months alerted police when she caught a whiff of the drug outside her home.

Teacher Moira Taylor became alarmed at the smells coming from the £250,000 three-bedroom house in Hiddleston Avenue, Benton, Newcastle.

When police arrived they immediately recognised the smell and discovered cannabis plants growing in every room - 250 of them, worth £75,000.

They were being cultivated under ultra-violet heaters.

Moira, 52, a mother-of-three, who had lived on Hiddleston Avenue with her family for 28 years, never imagined that she would end up next to a cannabis farm.

Moira, who teaches at St Vincent's Primary School in Walker, Newcastle, said: "We had some suspicions because there was a lot of drilling going on through the walls and we knew they were only renting the house.

"They were always coming and going and then over the last few months there had been a strange odour. We couldn't put our finger on it and it got worse.

"It was this horrible, disgusting sweet smell but I had no idea it was cannabis. It never crossed my mind but I knew something was going on."

Moira called the police and firefighters feared there may have been fumes leaking from the house.

But on arrival they recognised the odour of cannabis and broke down the door. The two occupants escaped through a back window. Moira, who is married to John, 56, a teacher at St Thomas More School in North Shields, said: "This is a lovely family street where everybody looks out for each other.

"This is the last thing you would expect to happen here.

"Most of the people who live here are professionals, teachers and doctors, not drug dealers. I was gobsmacked."

Police forensics officers were working in the house yesterday, and the tenants' cars were towed away.

A police spokeswoman said: "When police entered the house, shortly after midnight they discovered 250 fully-grown cannabis plants throughout the house.

"We believe it has a street value in excess of £75,000. Nobody was in the house at the time and inquiries are ongoing to find the occupiers."

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