Poor insulation led to drugs raid on police officer's home - The drugs squad raided a fellow police officer's home because they believed heat pulsating through her poorly insulated roof indicated it was a secret cannabis factory.
By Nick Allen
Police community support officer Zally Huseyin, 46, a mother of five, was shocked when she answered the door to a team of colleagues who demanded to search her house.
The mistake happened after infra-red images taken by a police helicopter showed Mrs Huseyin's five-bedroom, £400,000 detached property in Lower Cambourne, Cambridgeshire was glowing white hot.
In cannabis factories fluorescent bulbs are used to grow the drug which needs at least eight hours of daylight and temperatures of 59F (15C). The artificial lighting generates a bright white trace on infra-red cameras.
But when embarrassed officers searched Mrs Huseyin's house they found the glowing effect was caused simply by large amounts of heat escaping through the roof.
Mrs Huseyin, who has been a PCSO since March 2007, said: "I was absolutely gobsmacked when I realised the police had come to search my house. When I saw the squad car I thought it was colleagues just popping in for a cup of tea.
"I saw the police car pull up and I knew the sergeant. She recognised me when I answered the door. She was shocked and said three times, 'This is your house?'
"They showed me the footage from the helicopter and I couldn't believe it. They said if I hadn't been in they would have broken the door down to get in."
The Cambridgeshire Police helicopter had been flying over on an unrelated job when its infra-red camera picked up Mrs Huseyin's glowing home.
After her apologetic colleagues showed her the footage she realised why her heating bills had been so high. She was also shocked at the environmental impact of the heat gushing out of her roof.
Mrs Huseyin said: "These houses are meant to be environmentally friendly and economical but last year's gas bill was £1,000. I feel I've been ripped off.
"When I saw the pictures the house was just glowing and it looked like there was a spotlight on in the roof.
"I'm so embarrassed. I've got a reputation now as a drug dealer but the joke has worn a bit thin, especially in work."
She and husband Steve, 46, a garage owner, moved into their dream timber-framed house, built by David Wilson Homes, less than 18 months ago.
Mr Huseyin said: "We agonised over spending so much on a big house but because it was fairly new we thought it would be a good investment.
"But everything is going wrong and I am annoyed the way I have been treated by the builders who won't admit there's problem.
"If there's nothing wrong with our house how come we've been raided by the police?"
The builders denied the insulation was poor and said the house met all required standards.
David Bell, managing director for David Wilson Homes South Midlands, said: "Since being contacted by Mrs Huseyin regarding concerns over the energy efficiency of her home we have conducted additional investigations, including checking the insulation of the property, which found the home complies with all the relevant standards.
"All David Wilson Homes are built to the highest specification and in accordance with all energy efficiency legislation and regulations. Each home undergoes a thorough independent inspection before being occupied."
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