Firefighters have been praised by police after they responded to a report of water affecting electrics at a pizza shop – and uncovered a huge cannabis operation.
At 8.32pm on Monday crews from Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service (TWFRS) received a report that water was affecting the electrics at a takeaway in Newburn.
The crews quickly deployed to the premises on Warkworth Crescent and were on scene in just six minutes due to concerns that the issue could lead to a fire.
Upon attendance they identified the water was coming from a flat above the takeaway, but crews were unable to get a response from the occupants of the property.
The firefighters used a specialist lock pulling kit to force entry to the property where they found 250 cannabis plants filling four rooms, believed to be worth between £50,000 and £75,000.
Officers at Northumbria Police are now investigating the farm and are carrying out enquiries to identify those responsible.
On Tuesday an Area Manager at TWFRS said he hoped the partnership working across blue-light services reassured the public that they are in safe hands.
Area Manager Richie Rickaby said: ‘Initially this was a fantastic response by our crews who were on scene in just six minutes due to concerns about a risk of a fire.
‘They quickly identified the source of the issue and, when they could not get a response from the occupants, they forced entry to the property and uncovered this farm.
‘It is a significant farm, worth tens of thousands of pounds, and we have now handed the premises over to the police who will conduct an investigation.
‘This demonstrates how effectively we work with our blue-light partners to prevent fires, reduce risk and help create the safest community here in Tyne and Wear.’
Sergeant Robert Coates, of Northumbria Police, said: ‘An investigation is ongoing into this discovery and officers remain at the scene to carry out a range of enquiries.
‘I’d like to thank the fire service for their support and we are committed to ensuring anybody found to be responsible is brought to justice.’
Anyone with information about those responsible for the cannabis farm are encouraged to contact Northumbria Police online, or by calling 101, and quoting log NP-20211108-1002.