People have reacted to the news that one of the biggest cannabis factories found in Essex in the last 12 months was raided near their homes.

Police swopped on the industrial unit at Paslow Hall Farm, in King Street, Ongar, on Friday and discovered 800 plants and 10 kg of the class B drug.

Dave Smith, 67, who lives near the farm, said: “It comes as a real surprise.

"Think of all the people who have walked their dogs and have no inkling.

“It goes to show how clever they are.”

Sue Faires, 57, who lives adjacent to the farm, said: “In the last two years the units have become more closed off and a lot of cars have been coming and going but I’m really, really shocked.

“I can’t believe it.”

However Graham Wood, 26, who runs GS Car Care with his brother at Paslow Hall Farm, said he was not surprised at the find.

He said: I’m a fan of all the cop programs on TV and they always find stuff somewhere like this.
“The police helicopter is often overhead so I think that must have caught them.”

Staff at Trade Windows, which occupies a unit close to where the plants were found, described the smell as “overwhelming” when police shredded the plants.

Stephen Francis, 45, of no fixed address; Joseph Xenofondos, 39, of no fixed address; Anthony Georgiou, 49, of no fixed address; Christopher Reilly, 49, of no fixed address; Jamie Walters, 56, a driver from Ackroid Drive in Bow; and John Brown, 35, unemployed from Appleby Drive, Romford, have been charged with producing a class b drug.