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Police discover cannabis factory in former nuclear bunker

A nighttime raid by police busted a marijuana grow-op in a former nuclear bunker in southern England. The bunker had been converted into a cannabis factory. There were six arrests.

During a night-time operation, police in southwest England raided a former nuclear bunker in Chilmark, Wiltshire, that had become home to a cannabis factory.

Detective Inspector Paul Franklin said the set-up was "enormous," with nearly all of the 20 rooms in the bunker used to grow marijuana. Franklin said there were thousands of plants inside and estimated the value of the amount of marijuana to be about 1 million pounds (1.19 million euros, $1.26 million).

"I am convinced it is one of the largest crops ever discovered in Wiltshire," said Franklin.

According to a press release from Wiltshire Police, three men were detained outside the bunker, and police used their keys to get inside the structure. Police found three more men inside, from 15 to 37 years old, who were also detained and arrested. The men detained outside the structure were all from Somerset and arrested on suspicion of cannabis production and human trafficking offenses. The three found inside the bunker were arrested on suspicion of cannabis production and taken into custody.

"This is the largest and most sophisticated cannabis factory I've ever experienced, and I am delighted that we have been able to take such a large amount of illicit drugs off the streets of Wiltshire before they are able to reach vulnerable people within our communities," said Franklin.

The legal status of cannabis is controversial in the UK, with former deputy prime minister Nick Clegg and several MPs from the Labour, Liberal Democrat and Conservative parties arguing that it should be legalised in a statement released by the Adam Smith Institute. 

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