Page last updated at 04:24 GMT, Wednesday, 19 May 2010 05:24 UK

Thermal-imaging cameras target Bristol drug factories


The camera shows the "heat signature" of the roof

Police in Bristol are using portable thermal-imaging cameras to help locate cannabis factories.

The handheld camera is pointed at a suspect building to detect unusually high heat sources generated by powerful growing lamps.

Although officers have used similar equipment on the force helicopter, if the growers have insulated the roof the camera can not detect the heat.

It can also be deployed quicker and is cheaper than using the helicopter.

On Tuesday, officers using the equipment detected a strong heat source in premises in Fishponds Road at 0500 BST, obtained a search warrant by 1000 BST and then raided the flat at lunchtime.

Inside, plants, believed to be cannabis and with an estimated street value of £180,000, were being cultivated in three rooms.

No-one has yet been arrested in connection with the find.

You can hear more about this camera and the problem of cannabis factories in Radio Bristol's breakfast show which is now available on the BBC iPlayer.

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