Police have discovered a massive weed farm under a former theatre that was built in 1897. Detectives uncovered the illegal operation after finding a skilfully built 70ft tunnel at a nearby house in Deptford, southeast London. Police estimate the cannabis produced at the old 750-seater Broadway Theatre, which was converted into shops in the 1960s, could have surpassed £40million in the past decade. They found the farm when responding to reports of a break-in at a £430,000 four-bedroom terraced house nearby. An officer noticed the floor in the toilet was hollow and after further inspection, they found a tunnel had been made from the bathroom leading to a private car park and towards the old theatre’s large basement.
They chose the theatre’s basement because it can no longer be accessed by the public. A man who lived next door told Mail Online: ‘To think this has been happening next to us for ten years without any of us noticing is certainly surprising. I was shocked. ‘My wife and I sometimes heard what seemed like drilling. It was never for very long but it vibrated the walls upstairs. ‘We had no idea what it was, we just thought it was some building work nearby – it’s a busy road.’
He claimed two men had broken into the property in August and stolen keys and when he confronted them one of them had attempted to fight him. The neighbour added there had been more trouble in September when two other men kicked down a student accommodation they thought was the weed farm house. Police eventually found the secret passage when they were called to the location again in October.
A Met Police spokesman said: ‘On October 1, officers were called to an address following reports of a disturbance. ‘They discovered a large number of cannabis plants along with equipment used in the cultivation of cannabis in an area beneath the residential properties. ‘Three men, aged 28, 45 and 47, and a 36-year-old woman have been arrested on suspicion of the cultivation of cannabis. They have all been released under investigation.’ Police have boarded up the home as they continue to investigate.