Police had three calls about cannabis farm before Ipswich blaze

Kitchener Road homes

The damaged homes in Kitchener Road are still unoccupied nearly two months after the fire. - Credit: Paul Geater

Police had three calls about a cannabis farm in the Kitchener Road area before a serious fire made five homes uninhabitable in May, it has emerged.

But they did not have enough hard information to apply for a search warrant that could have closed down the farm before the devastating blaze.

Five homes were seriously damaged in the fire on the night of May 29/30 - just days before the Jubilee bank holiday.

One, next to the seat of the blaze, was a Home of Multiple Occupation (HMO) and none of the residents of the damaged homes have been able to return.

Suffolk fire crews at the scene of the blaze in Kitchener Road, Ipswich

Firefighters spent nearly 24 hours at the scene of the fire that damaged several homes in Kitchener Road. - Credit: Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service

A day after the fire police revealed they had found in their investigations that the house where it started was being used as an illegal cannabis farm.

Local residents said they had known there was a cannabis farm and that it had been reported to the police.

Local county councillor Debbie Richards said there had been concern because it was so near Springfield Junior School: "One teacher told me there were concerns because of the smell being so close to where there were so many children."

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A spokesman for Suffolk Police said: "This is still a live investigation. Police are following a number of enquiries with the hope to establish the identity of those people living at the address.

"Police received three reports from anonymous sources reporting a smell in the area.

"Officers carried out a number of enquiries to try and confirm which address the smell was coming from and to obtain the required further evidence to support increased police action.

"These enquiries didn’t meet the required threshold for an application to court for a search warrant or any further police action. No further reports were received between the enquires being undertaken and the fire taking place."

He said that no arrests had been made and nobody had been charged in connection with the discovery of the cannabis farm at this stage.

Kitchener Road residents

Residents came together to thank the heroes who saved lives as the Kitchener Road fire started. - Credit: Debbie Richards

Last weekend members of the local community presented three local residents with special awards to thank them for helping to wake up their neighbours late at night to ensure they got out of their homes safely and ensure no one was injured in the fire.