Police uncovered a massive haul of cannabis being grown in a £15 million mansion just yards from Buckingham Palace.
The drugs factory growing “£500,000 of weed” was raided by police inside the mansion on one of Britain’s most expensive streets in posh Belgravia, central London.
Around 30 bags of suspected drugs were seized from the five storey vacant property at around 7.30am on Friday morning, in Grosvenor Gardens.
One cheeky squatter – part of a group that have taken over a neighbouring mansion – even tried to run off with a clear plastic bin liner filled with the telltale leaves.
Experts say the cannabis factory must have been running for several weeks at least to produce so much drugs.
Moments after police had filled a lorry full of growing equipment a squatter was seen attempting to steal a sackful before two police officers gave chase and he dropped the bag and ran off.
The raid was spotted and filmed by fellow squatters who live opposite the drug factory, inside a multi -million pound complex – across the road from the palace.
Squatter Tom Fox, 23, filmed police outside and said: “We saw coppers coming out with cameras and a tripod.
“We presumed it was surveillance on our squat.
“Then later the truck was outside with a copper guarding it so I went to check it out, and overheard a copper saying to another ‘wanna see a £500k grow op?’
“We then saw the grow equipment so went back to the squat and gathered troops.
“The police took out maybe 30 or so bags, I don’t know who was growing, looking at the plants they seem mature, maybe two months?
“There were two uniformed at the van, I think two uniformed inside, also specialist drugs officers.
“After the event, all manner of police turned up including armed SO19.”
He claimed police are not looking for the brazen thief who hasn’t been seen since Friday morning.
After the squatter fled the raid, a police officer picked up the dropped bag and pulled out his truncheon and appeared to barge into a squatter causing a fracas.
Police have not confirmed if any arrests were made.
Tom added: “We think it was maybe private security tasked to protect the building, if not the owners themselves?
“It was a vacant building by all accounts.
“He just wanted to borrow it, he was a squatter but we haven’t seen him since.”
A Met Police spokesman said: “We can confirm that a drugs raid took place on Friday morning at 7.45am on a drugs warrant.
“We need to get details clarified by the officers who attended.”