POLICE have revealed for the first time that they uncovered a £367,000 cannabis farm at a derelict property in Oswaldtwistle.

Firefighters had initially been called to the old Foxhill Bank premises on Union Road on December 28.

Inside they found 735 cannabis plants located in 10 rooms over four floors. Officers have described it as one of the biggest cannabis finds in Hyndburn in 2019.

There was also evidence the electricity meter had been bypassed.

A 45-year-old man, not thought to be from the local area, was found hiding in a loft space in what was the former Empire cinema.

He has since been charged with producing cannabis and will appear before Blackburn magistrates later this month.

Police are continuing to appeal for witnesses and have urged anyone to report suspicious activity to officers via 101.

Sgt Ian Corbett, of the Hyndburn Neighbourhood Policing Team, said “This was an extremely well developed set up with an estimated value of around £367,000.

“Unfortunately set-ups of this scale and value are not uncommon in East Lancashire and I would urge members of the public with information to contact police in confidence to report suspicious activity.

“Officers are continuing with enquiries into this matter and the male has been remanded in custody pending a further appearance at court on January 30.”

County Councillor Peter Britcliffe has praised the police for tackling illegal drug production in the Oswaldtwistle ward.

Cllr Britcliffe said: “It is absolutely staggering that they have made this discovery and it is really good to know the police are working hard to tackle illegal drug activity in the town.”

A police spokesman said: “On Saturday, December 28, police and the fire service had cause to attend the old Foxhill Bank premises on Union Road, Oswaldtwistle.

“This initially was to a report of a fire in the building which has been unoccupied for several years.

“Once inside police discovered a large scale cannabis factory containing 735 plants located in ten rooms over four floors.

“The electricity had also been bypassed.

“Officers commenced a large scale search of the premises and later located a male not local to the area hiding in a loft space, he was arrested for production of cannabis offences.”