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Two more drugs factories closed

The Hornsey and Crouch End Journal, 30th March 2006

POLICE closed down two more cannabis factories last week - using thermal imaging equipment - and seized an estimated £140,000 worth of the drug.

In an attempt to get on top of the problem of cannabis production, bobbies on the beat are now being given handheld cameras - which show the heat emanating from the factories.

Last Thursday drugs officers swooped on two addresses - one in Braemar Road and the other in Roslyn Road, South Tottenham - and seized large amounts of plants and growing paraphernalia.

It is estimated the haul was worth more than £140,000.

Binh Van Dong, 48, of Braemar Road, was arrested and charged with cultivation of cannabis, possession with intent to supply a class C drug, criminal damage and extraction of electricity. He appeared at Highbury Corner Magistrates' Court on Friday.

Police said electricity meters had been bypassed in both houses - avoiding huge bills - and representatives from the electricity board, who went on the raids, said each house was using enough power to keep Tottenham police station going.

Sergeant Ian Pyles, who lead the operation, said: "This latest technology has allowed us to identify houses which have been turned into cannabis factories.

"The equipment means we can covertly film a line of properties and identify the factory when the thermal image glows white-hot."

He added: "With one house crop of cannabis being worth in excess of £70,000 we have to work hard to put the growers out of business. Drugs in local communities can ruin lives and we are determined to improve the borough for everyone."

Borough Commander Chief Superintendent Simon O'Brien said: "We work hard to make Haringey one of the safest boroughs and we will use all means to achieve that. This type of technology is the way forward and will ensure that we stay one step ahead of the criminals."

Discoveries of cannabis factories in Tottenham have been gradually increasing over the past year. The trade has been linked by police to London's Vietnamese community.

The growers' practice of bypassing the electricity meter is a particular danger as it often sparks fires - which can gut the whole building.

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