Police find cannabis farm with 250 plants in Newcastle home worth more than £200,000
A large-scale cannabis farm worth £200,000 has been discovered in a Newcastle house.
Officers raided a property on Hillhead Road, West Denton and once inside officers found more than 250 cannabis plants at various stages of growth – with an estimated value of more than £200,000!
Further searches also unearthed the property’s electricity had been bypassed and the electric company attended to make the property safe again.
The farm was dismantled and a 26-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of production of cannabis and has since been dealt with via immigration officials.
Officers from the North East Regional Organised Crime Unit (NEROCU), with support from NCA officers and Northumbria Police Neighbourhood Support Team, were involved in the raid on Friday.
Speaking about the activity, Sergeant Neil Lovat, from NEROCU’s Disruption Team, said: “I hope this activity is a clear sign of our stance on illegal drug supply in our region.
“We know that members of the public have differing views on cannabis, but the reality is that a farm of this size will turn a significant profit which will then be reinvested into further illicit activity such as trafficking and exploitation by organised criminals, who have little to no concern for the ripple effects of their criminality.
“Many cannabis farms also bypass their electricity – creating a dangerous fire hazard. No-one wants to live near that which is why we, along with our partners, are committed to tackling this type of criminality in the North East.
“If you see anything suspicious in your community, please let police know. Your information could result in us bringing effective justice against criminals who are operating in your area.”
If you see anything suspicious in your community, always report it to police or in an emergency, or if a crime is taking place, always ring 999.
Alternatively, you can also report information anonymously via the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
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Paul Cattermole cause of death revealed after S Club 7 star died aged 46
S Club 7 star Paul Cattermole’s cause of death has been revealed by coroners, a month after he died at the age of 46.
The singer was found in his Dorset home on 6 April, and was pronounced dead shortly after.
A spokesperson for the Dorset Coroner’s Service said: “I can confirm that Mr Cattermole died from natural causes and our investigations have concluded.”
Police have claimed that investigations into Cattermole’s death are still ongoing.
Cattermole found fame as one of the members of the pop group S Club 7. The band were preparing for a reunion tour before Cattermole’s sudden death.
Last week, it was announced that fellow S Club 7 member Hannah Spearitt, who once dated Cattermole, had dropped out of the 25th anniversary reunion tour.
The group’s five remaining members revealed that they were renaming the band S Club for the forthcoming tour, which will be called the Good Times tour in honour of their late bandmate. Cattermole had performed lead vocals on the band’s 2001 hit of the same name.
S Club now comprises Jo O’Meara, 44, Jon Lee, 41, Rachel Stevens, 45, Tina Barrett, 46, and Bradley McIntosh, 41.
Cattermole’s former bandmates shared heartfelt tributes to their former friend and collaborator in the days following his death.
In an emotional video shared on the group’s Instagram page, Lee said: “We have been in a bit of shock, and it has taken a while for us to find the right words to describe how we feel about losing our brother Paul.”
Stevens said: “Just taking the time to process and get our heads around it all, and also taking time to share time together so that we could remember Paul and all the memories we had together.”
McIntosh described Cattermole as a “big brother to us, all of us and you guys out there”, adding: “He truly was a unique specimen of human being.”
Jarrow paedophile told ’12-year-old’ to pose as his niece if anyone asked at the Metrocentre
Online predator Michael Hancock tried to meet a 12-year-old at the Metrocentre and told her to pose as his niece if they saw anyone they knew.
The paedophile, who has previously worked “with youths and in hospitals”, thought he was talking to a real child when he sent images of his genitals and turned the conversation sexual but, fortunately, it was actually an undercover police officer.
Newcastle Crown Court the officer had set up a profile online purporting to be an 18-year-old from Tyne and Wear, with which Hancock began to communicate in October 2021. He was soon told the girl was in fact 12 and he said he was 57.
The conversation quickly moved to Snapchat and turned sexual. Hancock sent a photograph of his legs in the bath and then his groin area. The profile replied with a message written on a child’s arm saying “show me” and Hancock sent images of his penis.
Ian Cook, prosecuting, said: “He said he would buy gifts for her and she should not let her family know about the conversation and he arranged to meet her at the Metrocentre. He said if they saw anyone they knew they should say they were uncle and niece.
“He said they should be careful because if he was caught he would be called a paedo.” He then went on to ask further intimate questions and discussed his sexual habits.
Mr Cook said: “He said he wanted to kiss her all night and hold her close. He arranged to meet her at the Metrocentre but was intercepted by police and arrested.”
Hancock, 59, of Edinburgh Road, Jarrow, pleaded guilty to attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child and was sentenced to eight months suspended for two years with a four-month curfew. He will also be subject to a sexual harm prevention order and will have to sign the sex offenders register for the next ten years.
Judge Julie Clemitson told him: “You believed that girl to be somewhat vulnerable and in the care system, yet rather than take actions any responsible adult would have done, which was immediately desist in talking to that child and even report the profile, you instead chose to continue to chat.
“You did so in a way which has the hallmarks of a predator, frankly. You slowly, over a period of time, gained that child’s trust by talking in a non-sexual way, offering to take her out and buy her gifts, then slowly but surely you introduced a sexual element to the conversation.
“You spoke about meeting at the Metrocentre and agreed a cover story should anyone ask who you were. You engaged in chat about various sexual practices and sent images of your penis to that, what you believed to be, 12-year-old child.
“It’s clear you have a sexual interest in young girls, however much you protest to the probation officer that you do not. Your behaviour was predatory.
“The seriousness of this kind of offending should not be underestimated. Just because there was not a real child doesn’t mean this kind of offending doesn’t lead to serious consequences. Children suffer day in and day out because of online paedophiles like yourself.”
Sam Faulks, defending, said: “He has been a working man who has contributed to society by his taxes and toil. He has previous good character and he cares for his elderly uncle and if he is locked up he will not have that additional assistance from his nephew.”
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