Lights from drug farms given to Tigers and Wildcats clubs

PCSO Roxsanne Davison, Castleford Tigers head groundsman Stuart Vause and PCSO Hannah Scott.
PCSO Roxsanne Davison, Castleford Tigers head groundsman Stuart Vause and PCSO Hannah Scott.

High-powered cannabis factory lamps seized by police in drug raids are being used to cultivate the grass at two rugby league clubs.

Castleford Tigers and Wakefield Trinity Wildcats were given around 100 lights and transformers by police.

The lights, which mimic the effects of the sun, were confiscated in raids at three multi-million pound cannabis farms in Wakefield.

And instead of destroying them, officers donated them to the Super League clubs.

The lights will be used to maintain the pitches throughout the winter.

Insp Ian Williams, Wakefield Police’s neighbourhood inspector, said: “We have had considerable success uncovering three large cannabis farms run on an industrial scale. This in itself has disrupted the activities of organised gangs.

“However, what better way to put their illegally gained assets to good use than to return them to the community.

“We are pursuing leads to identify and bring to justice those behind these illegal ventures. When that happens we will be looking to seize further assets through the courts which can be returned via the proceeds of crime act to community projects.”

Tigers chief executive Steve Gill said the lights will help save the club money.

He said: “The lights will be a big benefit to the club and help us force grass to grow in certain areas of the pitch.

“It is fantastic the police have donated the equipment to us and something good has come out of something bad.”

Wakefield NPT donated 60 bags of compost and hundreds of plant pots to Incredible Edible, a group which helps people work on allotments in the district. Andy Austerfield, of Incredible Edible, said: “We are delighted we can put the equipment to good use.”

Police seized the lights after shutting down a third £1m cannabis farm in the past three months in Wakefield.

Officers raided a multi-million pound factory at two derelict buildings behind the two old ABC Cinema, Kirkgate, in April this year.

It was followed by the discovery of drugs farms at Millennia Park Industrial Estate in Thornes and another at an industrial unit in Horbury, in June.

All three buildings contained thousands of plants with the potential to produce cannabis worth millions of pounds and hundreds of lights.

Police said the cultivation of the class B drug is being carried out by modern day slaves who have often been trafficked into the country and work the farms to pay off their debts for entry into the country.