A HUGE cannabis factory has been discovered at an industrial estate in Purbeck.

Hundreds of plants were found in two units at the Sandford Lane estate on Friday. The haul is so large that officers from Dorset Police are using hired lorries to clear the site.

Yesterday, police in white overalls and masks lifted the plants into the lorry using sheets held between four people.

It is expected that a heavy police presence will remain at the site while the investigation continues.

Tradesmen who own nearby businesses said units seven and eight sold to an unknown person this summer. The units cover a total of 6,218 square feet and would have cost around £400,000 if purchased together.

Since the the properties were apparently purchased, little activity has been seen at the site. However, one man who works nearby told the Daily Echo he had seen large vehicles pull up outside the doors at weekends.

A spokesperson from Dorset Police said three people appeared at court yesterday in connection with the find.

It is understood allegations of modern slavery have been made. Victims of slavery are treated to the same lifelong anonymity as victims of sexual offences.

“At around 11pm on Friday, December 27, officers executed a warrant under the Misuse of Drugs Act at industrial units in Sandford Lane in Wareham,” she said.

“A very large quantity of what is believed to be cannabis is being seized.

“Members of the public can expect to see a police presence at the premises while it is cleared.

“Four men – aged 22, 25, 30 and 46 – were arrested in relation to the investigation.

“Three men aged 22, 25 and 46 have been charged with production of a controlled drug class B – cannabis.

“The 22-year-old has also been charged with possession of controlled drug class B.

“All three are of no fixed abode and were due to appear at Weymouth Magistrates’ Court on Monday.

“A fourth man, aged 30, has been released without charge.

“He has been detained in relation to unrelated immigration offences.”

A businessman working nearby yesterday said: “It’s strange – I’ve never been able to smell anything there before.

“Today, the smell is so strong it made me feel physically sick as I arrived.

“It’s absolutely unbelievable.”