Cannabis 'grow houses' razed

Dodgy electrical work at cannabis "grow houses" has caused a surge in home fires across Melbourne, prompting police to fear for the safety of the general community.

Six houses have burnt down in the past two weeks, with four razed in as many days.

Police said all were found to be cannabis grow houses, unnecessarily risking neighbouring residents' homes and lives.

Although several people have been charged with a range of drug offences, including trafficking and cultivating commercial quantities of cannabis, police said many of the fires remained ongoing investigations.

Drug Task Force Detective Senior Sergeant Dave De Francesco believed the fires were caused by cannabis growers bypassing mains power at the properties.

“This not only causes a risk to only those responding to these house fires, but also those in the community,” he said.

The house fires have been at Buckley Street in Noble Park on December 3; Vincent Street in St Albans on December 9; Corrigan Road in Noble Park on December 10; Naismith Street in Footscray on December 11; Tasman Place in Wallan on December 12; and Hutzel Court in Delahey on December 13.

The investigations are part of the Drug Task Force's Operation Taxa, which aims to dismantle cannabis grow houses to shut down organised crime syndicates.

Sergeant De Francesco said so far the operation had sent a "clear message" to drug traffickers and growers. “Police are taking it seriously and will continue to target cannabis grow houses throughout the state,” he said.

Detectives raided two properties in Wyndham Vale about 8am on Wednesday morning, seizing more than 200 cannabis plants. The raids happened in Lancewood and McGrath roads. Police are still searching the Lancewood Road house and nobody has been arrested at this stage.

People with information about cannabis grow houses should contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

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