A COMMUNITY is in shock after a drug factory of 50 cannabis plants was found hidden inside a home in Maldon.

Essex Police were called at 1.45am on Saturday to reports of a man acting suspiciously at an address in Fambridge Road in the town, near the junction with Wallace Binder Close.

Officers attended and found at least 50 plants growing inside.

Residents of the area were shocked at the news.

Shelley Portman, who lives further down Fambridge Road, said: “My friends and I walk past the house nearly every day. It always looked incredibly quiet with no signs of life. I thought it must be either abandoned or waiting to be sold.

“Obviously now we know there was something much more sinister behind those doors.

“We hear reports from police not too rarely about cannabis rooms and stashes being found, clearly people think they can get away with it here.

“The worst part about it is there are plenty of children running around these side roads and neighbourhoods, only meters away from a whole factory of damaging drugs.”

Richard Baker witnessed forensic teams at the property.

He said: “There were people in white going in and out for most of the weekend, it’s the busiest I’ve seen this part of the road.

“There must have been a lot in there. Just talking to some neighbours and no one ever smelt anything, it sounds like it was hidden away very well.”

Tuy Van Tran, 28, of no fixed address, has been charged with being concerned in the production of cannabis.

He was due to appear at Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court on Monday.

A 15-year-old boy of no fixed address arrested on suspicion of cultivating cannabis has been released under investigation.

Enquiries are ongoing and anyone with information that could assist the investigation is asked to contact the Maldon policing team on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.