Pubdate: Thu, 11 Oct 2007
Source: Argus, The (UK)
Copyright: 2007 Newsquest Media Group
Author: Miles Godfrey


Police used a two tonne tractor to smash their way into a suspected 
cannabis cafe tonight.

Officers mounted the surprise operation on the fortified building in 
Freshbrook Road, Lancing, just before 6pm.

Using the agricultural vehicle they tore down the wall of the cafe, 
which officers say has been used as a drugs den for a number of 
months, and poured through the opening.

Tonight 15 people found inside the premises were being questioned by 
detectives on suspicion of drugs offences.

A fingertip search of the building was also being carried out in a 
bid to establish what substances were present.

Police raided the cafe in July and made three arrests and seized a 
small quantity of cannabis along with cash.

During that raid a large plume of smoke was seen rising from a 
chimney as officers used a battering ram to break in. A similar plume 
was spotted tonight.

Adur district commander Chief Inspector Lawrence Hobbs said: "We 
first visited here on July 19 and since then we have been building up 
a case for the Crown Prosecution Service.

"We've raided the place again really to undermine our determination 
to close it down and also to gather further evidence.

"There's been a lot of public support for what we are doing this evening.

"This sends a message that we are not going to tolerate open-air drug-dealing."

The cafe, which is around 50 metres down a slip road off Freshbrook 
Road, was fortified with metal poles and tyres. CCTV cameras linked 
to a television inside were clearly visible.

Ch Insp Hobbs said further results of the raid would be made public tomorrow.

Visit our website tomorrow to see video footage of the raid and the 
full length interview with Ch Insp Hobbs.
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