Huge haul of cannabis found in Hastings caves

The cannabis factory in the caves
The cannabis factory in the caves

A HUGE haul of cannabis worth more than £1million has been uncovered by police in a network of underground caves along the seafront.

Officers on the raid described the drugs factory as probably the largest ever found in Hastings.

Sergeant Simon Yates, of Hastings Police, said: “It was absolutely rammed. Personally I’ve never seen anything this big in my last five years. The initial site was big, but it was only when we got into the back of the room and found the tunnels we realised how huge it was.”

Two men, aged 68 and 57, both from Hastings, have been arrested on suspicion of illegal cultivation of cannabis.

Sgt Yates, who led the warrant with his Hastings Neighbourhood Policing Operations team, spoke of his shock at the size of the stash, adding that the £1million street valuation was ‘restrained’.

Cannabis plants lined underground tunnels extending back from a disused Chinese restaurant on White Rock.

The series of caverns and passages was built into the cliff-face behind the White Rock Theatre.

Behind the restaurant facade, around 2,000 plants were found in various stages of growth - most had been cultivated to produce skunk, a powerful form of cannabis. Owners of the drug den hacked into mains power to provide light and heat.

Police raided the site at 3pm on Tuesday, after local residents reported smelling cannabis in the area.

But the find came as a shock to at least one neighbour, who asked to remain anonymous.

“I never noticed anything,” he said.

“I’ve been round there before for New Year’s, but I never noticed a thing. I’m amazed.”

• In an unconnected incident, police discovered a smaller cannabis farm in a house in Nelson Road this week.

Officers from the Road Policing Unit found around 30 plants after a member of the public reported smelling cannabis in the street at around 1pm on Monday, and officers tracked it to the property.

A 54-year-old man and a woman, aged 47, were arrested and taken to Hastings Police Station on suspicion of the cultivation of cannabis. Both were later cautioned.