Helicopter Filming A Cycling Race Accidentally Films Cannabis Plantation
I'm sure that when people decide to start an illegal cannabis plantation, they take into account the risks associated with growing drugs. But whoever decided to put one on this roof in Spain clearly didn't consider the possibility that helicopters with TV cameras might fly overhead.
During stage eight of the Vuelta a España cycle race - one of the sport's Grand Tours, which also include the Giro d'Italia and the Tour de France - a helicopter filming the action happened upon a cannabis farm that had been set up on a rooftop above the streets of Lleida, in Catalonia.
The scenes unfolded live on TV as thousands of cycling fans watched the last kilometre of the race - and unfortunately for the owner of the farm, so did local police officers.
Mossos d'Esquadra (the Catalonian police force) then raided the property, finding 40 marijuana plants on the roof terrace.
According to Catalonian news outlet ARA, police had already been made aware marijuana plants were growing on the roof, after receiving information from neighbours in the wake of an occupant vacating the premises.
No arrests were made, but the police did seize the plants. Spanish law has decriminalised cannabis use in private, so if the owners are found and it is determined that it was just for personal consumption, then it's possible that they won't be punished.
However, it remains illegal to grow cannabis for the purpose of sale. Growing cannabis plants that are located in public view - for example, on a balcony - is considered a serious offence. This can lead to a fine of between €601 (£540 / $660) to €30,000 (£27,100 / $33,000).
There is no clear guidance on specific amounts that would determine 'personal use'.
Although 40 plants may seem a lot, it pales in comparison to this farm that was uncovered in Kettering, UK earlier this year.
Police officers uncovered a massive cannabis farm worth almost £3 million hidden in an old bingo hall.
Officers seized 2,000 plants and growing equipment during the raid at the Gala Bingo Hall in Northampton.
Shocking photographs shared by local authorities show that not an inch of floor space was spared in the operation, with rows of cannabis plants and sophisticated hydroponic cultivation equipment filling the building.
According to Northamptonshire Police, the entire haul could have been worth around £2.8m ($3.5m) a year.
Suspicions were first raised that something wasn't quite right with the property when officers smelled cannabis coming from the derelict building, in Kettering High Street. After thermal imaging later revealed heat sources coming from the old hall, around 25 officers and dogs stormed the building.
No arrests were made, as nobody was inside the cannabis factory - and it's doubtful that when they saw the raid they fancied going back in.
The plants were also said to have been about three weeks away from harvest and distribution.
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