'˜Positive line of enquiry' in cannabis farm probe

A massive cannabis farm was discovered in an empty shop unit ... only a few hundred yards from Falkirk's main police station.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 6th April 2017, 8:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 9th May 2017, 8:30 pm

Officers are understood to have made the discovery after a tip off.

The plants were being grown in the vacant store at the west end of Falkirk’s High Street – as shoppers passed just feet away.

Surprised shop staff and passers-by spotted police officers in white forensic clothing removing over 1100 cannabis plants.

This week a Police Scotland spokeswoman said: “Police in Forth Valley are investigating following the recovery of a cannabis cultivation in Falkirk High Street.

“The cultivation was discovered at an address in the High Street on Thursday, March 23, resulting in the seizure of 1141 plants.

“Inquiries are currently ongoing and officers are following a positive line of enquiry. Anyone with information is asked to contact Police Scotland on 101.”

The distinctive smell of the cannabis plants is understood to have led to police being alerted to the huge stash of plants.

However, how those involved gained entry to the premises is still being investigated.

The shop has lain empty for several years and was last used as a retail outlet by Littlewoods for its Index catalogue store.

Between 2012 and 2014 Falkirk Delivers, in partnership with 3Space, managed it as a community space for 
pop up events, exhibitions, workshops and product launches.

Alex Fleming, BID manager with Falkirk Delivers, said when the lease ended they had tried to engage with the property owner to continue to use the space but “to no avail”.

She added that the recent events raised issues over landlords pulling down the shutters on premises and leaving them vacant.

Yesterday (Wednesday), she said: “It saddens me to hear about this but it serves to raise the wider issue of long term empty properties and the need for landlords to have a duty of care for their investments in town centres.

“To property portfolio holders it may be just a number on a spreadsheet, to us it is a place in the heart of our town centre community.”

The property involved at 43 High Street is listed on the Scottish Assessors website as belonging to Panther Securities plc of Potters Bar, Hertfordshire.

Yesterday, a spokesman for the company said that they had been contacted by Police Scotland to alert them to the discovery, but had no further information.

He said: “I don’t know 
any more and cannot comment.”