‘Stink’ leads to drugs haul

Police with the drugs haul found in Balme Road.
Police with the drugs haul found in Balme Road.

The mystery of a pungent smell which has hung over Cleckheaton for days may have been solved.

Police seized more than 100 cannabis plants yesterday after the townsfolk had complained of a ‘herbal stink’ which was giving them headaches.

The police helicopter circled the town for two nights trying to locate the source of the smell and yesterday afternoon an industrial unit in Balme Road was raided by officers who seized the plants.

However, they are concerned that the haul of haul of 102 plantsis merely the tip of the iceberg.

PC Nick O’Meila said: “We believe there could be another source of the smell – we would urge anyone with suspicions to get in touch with the police.”

People living and working in the town have reported the cannabis-like stench for most of the week, from Crown Street to Whitcliffe Road.

After complaints were raised on Tuesday, police tried to track down the source of the smell, even drafting the police helicopter on Wednesday afternoon and evening.

Local trader Darren Whitley said: “I could smell it really strongly on Tuesday, someone I was speaking to said it was definitely cannabis.”

The Spenborough Guardian Facebook page was inundated with comments about the smell.

Joanne Lee said: “I’ve noticed it over the past couple of days – it stinks!”

After receiving a tip-off on Thursday morning, police raided an old industrial building in Balme Road, Cleckheaton where they found thecannabis plants.

Three police officers and a PCSO raided the building and destroyed the plants.

However they are not convinced the haul is the source of the smell. Insp Tim Holland from the Spen Valley NPT said: “Although this is a big haul, we don’t think that this is where all the stench has been coming from.

“Although there were quite a few plants, they have not yet matured and they don’t smell that strongly – certainly not strongly enough to make the whole town stink.

“We are told the smell is definitely that of cannabis, and we would urge any member of the public who may have suspicions about where the smell is coming from to contact the police.”

Anyone with information can contact crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.