Drugs gear goes under the hammer

POLICE are today hoping an auction of drug-making equipment will turn into a case of money for old dope.Although cultivating cannabis may have left those who were caught growing it high and dry, tomorrow their misfortune will provide a windfall for those in need.

POLICE are today hoping an auction of drug-making equipment will turn into a case of money for old dope.

Although cultivating cannabis may have left those who were caught growing it high and dry, tomorrow their misfortune will provide a windfall for those in need.

Instead of leaving it to go to pot, expensive hydroponic equipment used for growing the drug will come under the hammer of an Ipswich auctioneer.

The 15 lots, which were all seized by Suffolk police during investigations, will be sold to the highest bidders with the proceeds going to charity and community groups.


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Auctioneer Dominic Etheridge, who will be conducting the sale at Websters in Britannia Road from 10am tomorrow, said this rare chance to buy the valuable equipment is certainly not to be sniffed at.

Mr Etheridge said his company has been selling off lost property from the police for the past three years, regularly auctioning around 50 lots per month. However he added this was the first time he could recall such items being up for grabs and had no idea what they would go for.

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He said: "We have never had hydroponic equipment before or anything that has been used for drug cultivation. What it is going to make is what somebody will pay for it. It is expensive stuff to run. Top of the range stuff. You have got to have a good return for your crop. The only legitimate use is nurseries that grow exotic-type plants."

Mr Etheridge said the items had already caused a stir with a manufacturer from Bristol who had telephoned to find out more on Monday morning.

He said: "It's basically illegitimately gotten gains. It's certainly an unusual item and not an everyday thing. Normally the police would have destroyed this sort of stuff but because this has wider use it is worth putting in an auction to get some money."

Suffolk Constabulary spokeswoman Anna Woolnough confirmed police often auction off items seized as part of criminal investigations with 99 per cent of the proceeds going to charity while the remainder pays for administration costs.

Mrs Woolnough said: "Material sold at auction must have a legitimate purpose or it will not be sold, but destroyed. Hydroponic equipment has a legitimate use by growers of a variety of plants and is available from plant nurseries throughout the country.

"Police regularly sell unclaimed items and goods at auction seized from convicted criminals. The proceeds of these sales are placed in the Police Property Auction Fund. The money raised at auction is recycled back into the community through police support for local groups and charities."

So, for all concerned, it is hoped Mr Etheridge will be able to weed out the wheat from the chaff in order to make a healthy profit tomorrow.

Under the hammer

n A quantity of various lengths of 4"x2" timber

n Seventeen large plastic trays

n Sixteen large white plastic sheets

n Eighteen boxes of Grodan plant containers

n Forty-eight plastic stands

n Eight plastic reservoirs - various sizes

n Six garden trays - various sizes

n Three electric fans

n Eight adjustable A wing lights

n Four Thorn 400 lamps

n Two Hilux 1,000 lamps

n Ten transformers

n A bin of assorted electrical items

n A Draper submersible pump

n Eight 1,000 watt lamps

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