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A man has been arrested on suspicion of cannabis cultivation following a house fire in Kilkeel yesterday evening (Sunday, 16th May). 

The blaze in Hawood Way was reported to police shortly after 6:40pm by the Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service, who were in attendance tackling the fire. No one was present in the property at the time emergency services arrived to deal with the incident. It was reported that equipment believed to be involved in the cultivation of cannabis was located inside the house. 

Officers investigating the incident subsequently arrested a 36-year-old man on suspicion of cultivating cannabis, possession of a Class B controlled drug, possession of a Class B controlled drug with intent to supply and arson being reckless as to whether life would be endangered and he remains in custody, assisting with enquiries. 

Detective Constable Glenn Beckett said: "Enquiries into this incident are ongoing and the cause of the fire remains under investigation. Thankfully, we did not receive any reports of any injuries, and we want to thank the NIRFS for their quick actions in dealing with the matter.

"I want to appeal to anyone who has information about this incident to call us on 101, and quote reference number 1640 of 16/05/21."

A report can also be made online using our non-emergency reporting form via WWW.PSNI.POLICE.UK/MAKEAREPORT You can also contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or online at  CRIMESTOPPERS-UK.ORG

Detective Constable Beckett added: "I would also take this opportunity to appeal to any member of the public who has any concerns or information regarding drugs in their area to get in touch. I also want to take this opportunity to urge anyone who suspects a property in their community is being used a cannabis factory to get in touch.

“There are a number of tell-tale signs that a house has been converted into a cannabis factory including the use of a lot of heat and light. Invariably, electricity is illegally abstracted by by-passing the meter, which also increases the danger of fire breaking out. The abstraction of large amounts of electricity for cannabis cultivation can present very real and dangerous risks and we would ask people to remain vigilant. Some of the signs to look out for include windows blacked out in premises with possible condensation, pungent, unusual smells and unusual activity at premises. Anyone with concerns should call us on 101 so we can investigate. Your information could make all the difference.”

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