Monday, 17 January 2022

Empty hotel used as cannabis factory

Empty hotel used as cannabis factory

A SUSPECTED cannabis factory was discovered inside a disused Henley hotel.

Police went to the Imperial Hotel in Station Road on Sunday after a tip-off that there was a smell of “cooking” and the sound of movement inside.

Officers used flashlights to search the building during the night and multiple police cars were parked outside.

There was still a police presence on Monday and in the late afternoon there were vans outside to which two men were carrying equipment and heavy white bags.

Thames Valley Police said they responded to reports of “suspicious activity” and that a quantity of cannabis was recovered. No one was arrested but the investigations was continuing.

They appealed for anyone with information to call police on 101, quoting reference number 43210422495.

The 20-bedroom Imperial closed down in 2006 and has been empty ever since.

The hotel, which was known as The Edwardian in the Eighties, is a Grade II-listed building and was bought by Dr Raymond Crockett more than 25 years ago. Built at the end of the 19th century to catch the eye of the tourists arriving by train at the station opposite, the hotel is in a line of shops, formerly known as Imperial Parade.

In 2014, Dr Crockett partly restored it and had planned a new restaurant in an orangery at the back of the building and a new modern bar area in the former premises of Talbot Taxis, but the hotel never re-opened.

Before it closed, a Michelin-starred chef tried to buy it to convert into a bar.

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