A FORMER police officer, who found an elaborate cannabis farm in a Bradford city centre apartment, has revealed how he was told by police to dismantle it himself.

Garry Gregory, who served in murder, robbery and drugs squads during a 26-year career, claimed that officers who attended the flat were disinterested and said there was nothing they could do about the drugs stash.

It comes as the West Yorkshire force admits it is having to review the way it deals with cannabis farms in West Yorkshire because the problem is costing so much money.

Details of the cost cannot be revealed for commercial reasons but the force describes the financial burden of investigating farms, dismantling them and disposing of the plants and equipment as a “significant” drain on resources.

Mr Gregory, 59, said there was cannabis bush, which he estimated to be valued at thousands of pounds, on the floor of the living room and a bedroom, and in large sealed bags in the apartment, in Stonegate House, off Manor Row, along with a sophisticated drugs factory with insulation, heat lamps, fertilisation, and a ventilation and watering system.

Mr Gregory, of Denholme, said: "There were 154 plastic storage containers, all full of cannabis. It was a major cannabis farm. It was certainly not for somebody's personal use."

Mr Gregory, who retired from the force and now runs a cleaning and caretaker business, said he and the landlord of the property, David Pollard, discovered the drug factory when they carried out an inspection of the apartment, and called the police straight away.

He said: "Two uniformed bobbies turned up. They looked inside the flat. They weren't interested. They said there was nothing for them, even though there was a large bag full of cannabis bush, and it was all over the floor and in buckets.

"The occupants of the flat had moved out, but the landlord had their details.

"The officers washed their hands of it. They told the landlord to get rid of the cannabis. They said if they did it they would have to tear the place apart and it would cost a fortune."

Mr Gregory said that a day or so later, he and a builder began to clear the flat, putting the cannabis in large bin bags and into industrial waste bins outside.

He said another resident sneaked into the apartment and began bagging up cannabis for himself, and stole Mr Gregory's iPad.

He recovered it from another apartment block nearby, but as he left the building he was assaulted by the thief and his son.

"I was jumped on and knocked to the floor. One was punching me and the other was kicking me. Somebody pulled them off and I got up. I started walking up the road and one of the men came up, punched and kicked me again and rammed my head into a car window."

Mr Gregory suffered cuts and bruises but did not go to hospital.

He said police attended and took details but a few days later he was informed that both men had been given cautions for assault and theft.

Mr Gregory has written to West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Mark Burns-Williamson, and Shipley MP Philip Davies to raise his concerns.

West Yorkshire has one of the worst records in the country for cannabis farms, though police bosses believe that is because they are so active in tackling the problem and not because the county has abnormally high numbers.

At present when farms are raided, the cannabis plants are incinerated and the growing apparatus dismantled and destroyed but that, along with investigations for prosecutions, is leaving the force with a sizeable annual bill.

In the next few weeks it is expected decisions will be made that could bring the cost of disposing of the plants down to zero and there could also be changes in the amount of time officers spend at crime scenes.

The action taken by police over the hydroponics equipment used to rear the plants could also be reviewed with the objective of cutting costs.

West Yorkshire Police’s drugs co-ordinator Bryan Dent said no decisions had yet been confirmed, but said: “We are reviewing what our actions will be at the scene.

“We are reviewing what we should take possession of and what we could safely leave at the scene. A question is whether the growing equipment should be taken or left behind. There is a common sense and practical solution but we have yet to reach that conclusion. We have a dilemma of how we deal with that,” he said.

The force is also looking at other possible ways of disposing of cannabis, which it currently pays to have incinerated.

A possible alternative would be to have it composted but there would be security implications to ensure the illegal plants were destroyed as expected.

“There is a not insignificant cost in incinerating cannabis,” said Mr Dent.

“There are some serious issues around cannabis growing, in terms of communities and organised crime.

“People might ask why we are spending time and effort in dealing with cannabis farms.

“It is illegal and there are horror stories linked to trafficking and modern day slavery which we believe we have a duty to investigate.

“It costs a lot of money but when you balance that against the issues, we will continue to take a tough stance.”


Shipley MP Philip Davies said police should not pick and choose which laws to enforce.

Mr Davies said: “The job of the police is to enforce the law where it is clearly being broken. Where there is clear evidence, it should be properly prosecuted through the courts.

“I am the first to accept that the police are stretched, but that does not give them an excuse to decide what should be enforced. 

“Their job is to enforce the law. I would be concerned if they were deviating from that principle.”

Detective Chief Inspector Jonathan Blackwell, of Bradford District Police, said: “Officers attended and discovered a quantity of soil and fertiliser, as well as evidence that the apartment had been converted for cannabis growing. 

“However, no cannabis plants were found inside the property and no suspects were present.

“As a result, the complainant was informed that this would be treated as an incident of criminal damage, pending any further information coming to light.

“Police are committed to tackling drugs in Bradford District and, where there is evidence of cannabis being grown, officers will seize anything which may assist a criminal investigation.”