We were contacted by landlord John Leaver afte he discovered a cannibis factory in a house he had rented out.

What made the story extraordinary, was that John had before and after photos of how the house looked.

We set up John with a very good exclusive deal for his story to be sold to the Daily Mail newspaper.

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When buy-to-let landlord John Leaver went to do a spot of maintenance at one of his properties, he expected the garden to be a bit untidy.

But it was the inside of the three-bedroom detached house that was overgrown and Mr Leaver, 64, discovered his retirement investment had been turned into a cannabis factory.

The sitting room and two of the bedrooms were carpeted with hundreds of plants with a street value of 100,000, while the rest of the property was being used to store tons of fertiliser.

The kitchen had been turned into a bedroom and living space for the "gardener", who fled when the landlord arrived.

There were 50 huge ultra violet lights in the rooms, each with its own newly-fitted power socket.

It is estimated they were using 100 worth of electricity each day although the meter had been bypassed to avoid payment by drawing power straight from the mains supply.

The house had been totally cleared of furniture and fittings and Mr Leaver found all his possessions crammed into the garage.

Police filled six vans with the plants and equipment used in the industrial-scale cannabis growing operation.

Yesterday they said inquiries were continuing and they had yet to make any arrests.

Mr Leaver, a former mechanical engineer, said that students had previously rented the 180,000 house in Caerleon, South Wales. Then, in early December, a Chinese couple said it was ideal for their purposes.

"We agreed a rent of 650 a month. The rent was paid into my bank account on time and there were no reports of any problems."

Last Tuesday, Mr Leaver arrived to find the front-door lock had been changed, and returned with a ladder.

"I opened a skylight and got inside. It was pitch black.

"There was a young Chinese-looking guy standing right in front of me on the landing. I was frightened, and he looked petrified."

As the man escaped, Mr Leaver called police who forced the front door and found the huge cannabis haul.

Mr Leaver, who owns three other rented-out properties, added: "It has made me wary of the sort of tenant I will rent my houses out to."

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