Neighbourhood officers raid region's first "cannabis shatter" operation
12 Oct 2017 16:00 PM[View Full Size]
Northumbria Police have raided a property in Gateshead suspected to be a "cannabis shatter" factory - thought to be one of the first of its kind in the north east.
Officers from the Gateshead West Neighbourhood Policing Team executed two warrants in Ryton this morning after receiving intelligence about dealing from the local community.
In the early morning raids they found a large quantity of cannabis, large quantities of money and a hoard of equipment thought to have been used to make the up-and-coming drug that has the same appearance as honeycomb.
A 25-year-old man and a 21-year-old woman were also arrested as part of the raids on suspicion of supplying the extra strong "Shatter" variation of cannabis.
Inspector Cheryl Warcup, of the Gateshead West NPT, oversaw the operation that uncovered the factory and has warned users about the dangers of producing the unusual substance.
She said: "We are aware that this 'Shatter' form of cannabis is commonly produced in the US but it is not very widely used at all in this country.
"It is stronger then your normal cannabis but the real danger is to those who are producing the drug in the first place.
"Not only is it illegal but you have to use highly flammable butane gas to strip the chemicals from the plants and that puts you at huge risks.
"Last year it was reported that two people have died and more than two dozen have been injured due to explosions linked to the production of the drug.
"I am very happy that the warrants executed today has put a stop to the production of the drug on this occasion and that is thanks to the hard work of officers."
Shatter cannabis, also known as Butane Hash Oil (BHO), is made by using large amounts of highly flammable butane gas.
That helps strip THC – the active ingredient in cannabis – out of the plant and leaves a glass-like extract that hardens to give the appearance of cooled caramel or honeycomb.
It is then broken up into small shards for users to smoke it as they would a cannabis plant. The form of cannabis is believed to be much stronger than the common form of the drug.
The factory suspected to be making the drug was busted in the Croft Estate in Ryton and is believed to be one of the first to have been uncovered in the north east.
Inspector Warcup says that the distribution of any illegal substance has an effect on the local community and says her team will continue to work hard to take drugs off the street.
She said: "Shutting down these types of operations and arresting those suspected of supplying drugs does have a positive effect on our local communities.
"By taking drugs off our streets we can reduce anti-social behaviour, identify further criminal activity and make our region a safer place to live.
"However, these types of operations cannot be conducted without intelligence from local communities so if you do have concerns about drug use then give us a call."
If you have information about drug dealing in Gateshead then you can report it to us by calling 101, reporting it online at our website or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.