AN INVESTIGATION has been launched after cannabis plants were found growing on the site of a sewage treatment plant.
Cannabis was found growing near to the Budds Farm treatment works off Southmoor Lane, Havant.
Police became involved after staff from Southern Water, which runs the plant, discovered the bushes growing in a remote and disused area.
Suspicions were aroused after a man was seen walking to the area and was challenged by staff, who escorted him off the site.
The man claimed to be lost, but when staff inspected the area they discovered the plants.
Police are now analysing CCTV footage, which was not available to be released to the public last night.
The plant processes sewage for the Portsmouth area and has had several million pounds spent on revamping the technology in recent years.
A spokeswoman for Southern Water said: ‘Our staff challenged a man walking towards a remote and disused area of Budds Farm Wastewater Treatment Works on Thursday.
‘He claimed to be lost and so they escorted him off site.
‘They then checked the area where he was heading and discovered the cannabis plants.’
Community leaders in Havant were shocked.
Councillor David Guest said: ‘It’s extraordinary – I have never heard anything like it.
‘Southern Water should know what’s going on on their site.
‘Most companies will have their site secure either internally or externally. Budds Farm is a very important facility and it needs to be safeguarded.’
Havant resident Pete Walden, 83, has been walking around the Southmoor area for decades and remembers when it was grazed by cattle and was a favourite for mushroom-picking.
‘I know that area inch by inch before Budds Farm was there,’ he said.
‘If anyone is growing anything there, they should be prosecuted.’
A police spokeswoman said: ‘I can confirm that police are investigating this incident after receiving a report that cannabis plants had been found growing at Budds Farm in Havant. The area where the plants were located is disused and overgrown.’