Bradford cannabis raid finds guinea pig heater

Guinea pig Mrs Hardcastle said her guinea pigs - Simon and Kenny - needed a heater in the recent cold snap

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Police swooped on a suspected cannabis factory at a house in Bradford - only to find the suspicious heat source was for two guinea pigs.

Officers arrived last week after the West Yorkshire Police helicopter detected a hotspot on the roof of the garage in Huddersfield Road, Odsal.

A hotspot is often a sign of specialist heating systems used to grow cannabis.

Police have apologised for any distress the raid caused to the guinea pigs' owner, 42-year-old Pam Hardcastle.

Mrs Hardcastle, a learning mentor at Bradford Moor primary school, said: "On Wednesday I'd gone to work and got a call from my mum who said you need to come home.

"The police came on the phone and said: 'We think you're growing cannabis in your garage.'

"I said: 'No, it's a heater to keep my guinea pigs warm because it's been so cold.'

"I went home and there were two policemen who came in the house with me and I've got a big picture of Bob Marley with cannabis growing behind him so I thought: 'Oh my God, don't turn round'."

'Unfortunate it was me'

Mrs Hardcastle said that despite the embarrassment the incident had caused, she did not criticise the police.

"I think the police do a really good job and I do understand why they did it," she said. "It 's just unfortunate it was me."

Insp Darren Brown, of the Queensbury, Royds and Wibsey neighbourhood policing team, 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."

He reassured Mrs Hardcastle that her details would not be kept on police records.

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