A suspected cannabis factory was discovered in South Armagh after reports were made of a large shed on fire yesterday (Sunday), police have confirmed.
A PSNI spokesperson stated that detectives are investigating the circumstances surrounding the fire on the Derrywilligan Road, Bessbrook, which was reported at 5.40pm.
Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service confirmed that six fire appliances attended the scene- two from Newry, two from Warrenpoint, one from Newtownhamilton and one from Dungiven.
Firefighters wearing breathing apparatus, used 2 jets to extinguish the fire. The incident was dealt with by 10.07pm and the cause of the fire is believed to be deliberate ignition.
During a search, police confirmed they discovered a suspected cannabis factory and approximately 800 suspected cannabis plants.
A 48-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of cultivating cannabis and other drug related offences. The man remains in custody at this time.
Speaking to Armagh I, Sinn Féin councillor Declan Murphy commented that attention was drawn to the property due to the fire and he has further alleged that human trafficking has been linked to the alleged enterprise.
He said: “While I welcome the discovery of this cannabis factory I am very concerned with the added dimension of human trafficking.
“Modern day slavery is happening right under our noses and it is extremely important that we as a community do everything we can to stamp it out.
“The PSNI must use all its resources to track down the criminal gangs behind human trafficking and slavery and take the individuals involved off our streets.”
Detective Sergeant McCarragher said: “Enquiries into this incident are ongoing and the cause of the fire remains under investigation. We are appealing for anyone with information and who may have witnessed any suspicious activity in the area or have information about this incident to contact detectives on 101, quoting reference number 1529 01/08/21.”
A report can also be made online using the non-emergency reporting form via http://www.psni.police.uk/
You can also contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or online at http://crimestoppers-uk.org.