These shocking pictures show the £2 million-a-year cannabis crop grown behind a disused NUCLEAR BUNKER built to protect civic dignitaries during the Cold War.
The subterranean 20-room compound was fitted with nuclear blast doors, making the site almost completely impenetrable, and cops had to wait outside during a midnight raid to pounce on the ringleaders.
The former Ministry of Defence structure was built in the 1980s to shelter local government officials should there be a nuclear attack, but was commandeered by organised criminals Martin Fillery, 45, Plamen Nguyen, aged 27, and Ross Winter, 30.
It took ten days to clear the factory (Photo: Solent News & Photo Agency)
The trio had been filtering off electricity worth £250,000 in order to power equipment worth £140,000.
Inside the factory were 4,000 cannabis plants growing beneath sophisticated lighting, which would have produced a crop worth £2 million per year.
The kitchen inside the nuclear bunker (Photo: Solent News & Photo Agency)
Cops who launched the midnight drugs bust had to wait for Nguyen and Winter, both of Bristol, and Fillery, of Bridgwater, Somerset, to leave the building before they were able to seize the keys to it.
The factory was hidden in a nuclear bunker (Photo: Solent News & Photo Agency)
The scale of the drugs factory was so huge it took 10 days to clear the site at RGHQ Chilmark, Wilts, close to an idyllic village, after a raid in February.
The set up was so sophisticated that a crop would be produced every six weeks, in order to be sold across the south west.
The haul was found after a police sting (Photo: Solent News & Photo Agency)
Living quarters were provided for the ‘gardeners’ who tended to the crops, and there were even nurseries for baby plants to thrive.
The men all admitted conspiracy to produce class B drugs and abstracting electricity when they appeared at Salisbury Crown Court.
The men all admitted to conspiracy to produce Class B drugs (Photo: Solent News & Photo Agency)
Fillery also admitted possession of criminal property and will be subject to the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) after sentencing.
Detective Inspector Simon Pope said: “This was an enormous discovery for our Local Priority Team – I believe it was the biggest cannabis factory we’ve ever had in Wiltshire and the South West region.
Police investigating the £2m haul (Photo: Solent News & Photo Agency)
“The isolated and secure nature of the location made the warrant particularly challenging.
“The bunker itself had approximately 20 rooms inside over two floors, and almost every single room had been converted for the wholesale production of cannabis.
In addition to the growing rooms, there were drying rooms, nurseries and living quarters for the growers – it was a sophisticated set up with an illegal connection to the mains electrical supply.
The living quarters for the ‘gardeners’ (Photo: Solent News & Photo Agency)
“The lighting equipment alone seized from the site cost in the region of £140,000 and the setup was capable of producing a crop every six weeks.
In all it took approximately 10 days to completely search and clear the site.
The drugs were hidden in a Cold War bunker (Photo: Solent News & Photo Agency)
“This investigation was a significant undertaking by Wiltshire Police into a highly profitable criminal enterprise.
The astonishing haul was kept in a former government property (Photo: Solent News & Photo Agency)
“I am delighted that the vast amount of preparation to ensure the warrant was executed successfully paid off, and that through the subsequent hard work of the team we were able to bring these three men to justice.
“I’m really pleased that we have been able to dismantle such a large-scale organised operation running in rural Wiltshire – as a result we have stopped an enormous amount of illegal drugs from reaching the streets of Wiltshire and the South West and causing harm to our communities.”
Source: 420Intel – Politics