Drug raid finds guinea pig heater
Published 12/01/2011 | 12:27
A woman has received an apology from police after officers swooped on her house thinking she had turned it into a cannabis factory - and found an electric heater for her two guinea pigs.
The raid was mounted after the West Yorkshire Police helicopter detected a hotspot, caused by the heater, on the roof of the garage in Huddersfield Road, Odsal, Bradford.
A hotspot is often a sign of specialist heating systems designed to grow cannabis and officers raided the house.
However, embarrassed officers, who had obtained a search warrant, went away empty-handed after finding nothing more sinister than an electric heater to keep Pam Hardcastle's two pets warm.
Inspector Darren Brown said: "A majority of operations of this nature are intelligence-based and often rely upon swift action.
"Due to the location of the garage, we could not make further observations without alerting the occupants.
"On this occasion, it transpired that the significant heat source coming from the property was not connected to the production of cannabis.
"Officers who attended explained the full circumstances to the occupant and discussed any damage.
"I would like to apologise for the distress this may have caused. However, I would point out that these tactics are essential in tackling drugs across the district.
"I can also reassure the occupants that their details will not be kept on police records and I will be personally visiting them to discuss any concerns they may have."