National Crime Agency officers have discovered a massive three-floor cannabis farm in a former nightclub in Coventry.

They raided the property on Trinity Street on Thursday [15 October], smashing through several reinforced doors to access the grow.

When they got inside they discovered around 1000 cannabis plants spread across the building’s three floors. NCA experts value the haul at over £1 million.

As well as the plants officers recovered sophisticated planting, growing and irrigation equipment, valued at around £150,000

Three men were arrested. Two were detained with the assistance of West Midlands Police drone unit as they attempted to flee the building.

NCA branch Commander Adam Warnock 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.”

All three men were subsequently charged with production of a class B drug.

Albanian national Andi Qani (aged 24) and Vietnamese national Cao Van Vu (31) appeared before Coventry magistrates on Friday where they were remanded in custody until their next court appearance at Warwick Crown Court on 12 November.

The third man, Albanian national Adrian Lieshaj (28), was found to be wanted by German authorities for robbery offences and is the subject of a European Arrest Warrant. He will be taken to Westminster Magistrates court yesterday in order for the extradition matter to be heard.

The operation was supported by officers from the West Midlands Police Cannabis Disruption Team.

Ch Supt Lee Wharmby, Head of West Midlands Police’s Operations department, said: “Our pilots helped detain two people using our state-of-the art drones equipped with thermal imaging cameras.

“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.”

17 October 2020