The closure of Britain's bingo halls has been devastating to many a bingo-loving community. However, for Britain's criminal underworld, the growing number of empty bingo halls offers, quite literally, growing opportunities.
Following concerns from the National Grid, Police raided a former bingo hall in Barry, South Wales last week. On entering the building, police discovered a “substantial” industrial-sized cannabis farm consisting of over 3000 plants spread across six floors and 20 rooms.
With a value of around £1000 per plant, the total value of the cannabis plants is estimated to be worth around £3 million. This makes it one of the largest cannabis busts in the area and one of the largest cannabis busts in a former bingo hall.
PC Beth Harrison of South Wales Police said:
“Many people think it is ‘just a bit of cannabis’ but any production of drugs is linked to hidden harm.
“These large operations are often run by organised crime gangs, who are likely to engage in very serious violence. The electrical requirements to grow this many plants are also really dangerous and can be a huge fire risk, putting neighbouring properties, and lives, in danger.
“We would encourage people to please continue to report suspicious behaviour and suspected drug dealing in their neighbourhood to us, as the information helps us develop a bigger picture that leads us to take action and remove drugs from the streets.”
Former Bingo Halls Loved by Cannabis Growers
Over the last couple of years, there has been a proliferation of cannabis farms springing in former bingo halls.
Big, soundproofed multi-level buildings offer an attractive location for cannabis growers.
In June 2019, Northampton Police seized more than 2000 cannabis plants valued at nearly £3million from a former Gala Bingo Hall in Kettering.
Police discovered a drugs stash worth up to £1million in an old abandoned bingo hall in Inverclyde, Scotland.
At the start of 2021, yet another cannabis farm was discovered in an abandoned bingo hall. Neighbourhood officers from Hyndburn Police, Lancashire found a cannabis factory with nearly 500 plants at the old Empire Bingo Hall on Blackburn Road, Accrington.
A few months later, in May 2021, a police raid on the former Majestic bingo hall in Swinton Road, Mexborough, near Doncaster revealed a large-scale cannabis factory had been located inside the building.
At the end of December 2021, a closed Ryhl bingo hall was found to be used as a cannabis farm. Plants with an estimated street value of over £1.5 million were found inside the East Parade premises.
Ben has been an massive bingo enthusiast and fan since playing at the seaside as a kid. Dedicated to bringing you the latest and best bingo news from the UK