Specialist team moves in to clear Leeds 'cannabis factory'

Police have explained why teams in protective clothing will be searching a building in Leeds today.

The specialist team will be assisting officers to search a building at the junction of Dewsbury Road and Oakhurst Avenue, Beeston, where a cannabis factory was discovered in September.

A number of plants were removed, but when asbestos was found it was sealed off because of the risk from inhaling fibres.

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Makeshift alterations had been made to walls and ceilings in the building which had exposed the asbestos and increased the risks, police say.

The building in Beeston was raided back in September

The force said the building still needs to be fully searched and the potential risk presented by the asbestos is "beyond the standard safety equipment and training available to officers."

Detective Inspector Phil Jackson, of Leeds District Serious Organised Crime Unit, said: “This is proving to be a very lengthy operation but the safety of any staff entering the building has to remain our main consideration.

“The health risks posed by exposed asbestos are very serious and we need to take all relevant precautions to ensure we can complete a search of the building in safety.

“We recognise that this increased activity at the site could cause unhelpful speculation which is why we wanted to let people know what is happening.

“This is solely due to the asbestos issue, which we are satisfied does not present a risk to anyone in the general area.

“We hope to be able to conclude the activity at the scene as soon as is practicable and we would like to thank the local community for their patience.”