TWO men have been arrested after a large-scale cannabis factory was uncovered at a house in Bournemouth yesterday afternoon.

Police seized 541 cannabis plants, most of which were near maturity, with a total street value of approximately £270,000 from a property in South Road, Boscombe.

Officers from the Enhanced Policing Team, who asked not to be named due to the nature of their work, said the factory was being operated by professional and organised criminals.

One officer said: “It’s a professional operation. They knew exactly what they were doing.

“There was no smell coming from the property because they have put the tubes through the chimney and they have effectively rewired the house so they were bypassing the meter and receiving free electricity.”

The plants, which were being grown in four rooms of the rented semi-detached house, were initially believed to be worth in excess of £50,000.

However, today police confirmed that the total is much higher.

Officers visited the house at around 1.30pm after receiving intelligence about drugs activity at the house. A 21-year-old man from an unknown address was detained at the scene and has been arrested on suspicion of committing drugs offences.

He has been bailed pending further enquiries.

A 41-year-old man from Christchurch was also arrested on suspicion of drugs offences, and has been bailed.

Police Sergeant Gary Hole, of the enhanced policing team, said: “Dorset Police will not tolerate drug dealing in Boscombe.

“We will continue to take robust action for the benefit of the local community against groups and individuals who are dealing drugs in this area.

“Anyone with concerns or information about such activities should contact Dorset Police on 101.

“All calls are treated with the strictest confidence.”

Ros Prescott, who lives next door to the house, said she was shocked by the news.

The 67-year-old said: “I had no idea. I was sitting eating my lunch when I heard them banging on the door.”

Paul Hamerton, who has lived on the street for eight years, said drug dealing was rife in the area.

He said: “People are always dealing drugs on the bridge. We get a lot of them around here.

“We call the police about it all the time.”

Ian Barton, who lives in nearby Gladstone Road West, added: “It’s blatant. We need a stronger police presence to stop them from coming here.”

Sergeant Paul Vacher from Dorset Police said the operation was part of an ongoing campaign in the fight against drugs.

He said: “This follows on from a recent operation against drugs in Boscombe. Dorset Police will continue to take robust action in this area for the benefit of the resident community.”