Pubdate: Thu, 07 Feb 2008
Source: Argus, The (UK)
Copyright: 2008 Newsquest Media Group
Author: Miles Godfrey
Bookmark: (Cannabis - United Kingdom)


Police have raided what is thought to be Britain's most fortified
cannabis cafe for a fourth time.

Officers took around 15 minutes to gain entry to the building, on a
slip road off Freshbrook Road, Lancing, during the raid on Wednesday

The raid was executed after two people, a man and a woman, were
arrested for possession of cannabis after being spotted leaving the

But the heavy fortifications, which consist of metal poles surrounding
the building, two "air lock" style steel doors and a high tech CCTV
system, thwarted officers from getting inside the building quickly.

A Sussex Police spokesman said: "Officers saw a large plume of smoke
emanating from the building on demanding entry and were delayed by
some 15 minutes with the occupants failing to open the doors to Sussex

"This building is surrounded by steel poles on which sit tyres full of
concrete, the windows are barred, the doors of which there are two
comprising an air lock are constructed from steel with warnings of
electrified wire present on the premises.

"Officers at the scene reported the smell of cannabis burning in the
air while they waited for entry and on entering found a burner
situated on the premises having been used prior to entry being gained."

No further arrests were made inside the building and no other cannabis
was found.

It follows three previous raids on the building, one in July 2006,
where officers attempted to smash their way into the cafe using a
battering ram.

During a second raid in October a tractor was used to pull out a
window. Officers on the third raid simply knocked on the door and
asked to be let in.

On each occasion only small quantities of cannabis have been

The Argus has previously revealed how the cafe is full of comfy sofas,
chess boards and books.

Its owner has told the newspaper that he believes the police have been
"heavy handed".

Chief Inspector Lawrence Hobbs admitted the fortifications had
hampered attempts to close the premises.

But both he and other senior Adur police officers have said they are
still "committed to the investigation and prosecution" of those
connected with the cafe.

The police spokesman added: "Officers from Shoreham will continue to
stop and search persons where evidence suggests they are in possession
of such drugs.

"Where found in such possession arrests will be made which may result
in a criminal convictions for drug related offences.

"Sussex Police remains committed to the investigation and prosecution
of those engaged in the production and supply of controlled drugs."

The two people arrested at the scene on Wednesday night received
police cautions.
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