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Police seize "granny cottages" used as cannabis farms

The properties are located in the rural municipalities of Mänttä-Vilppula, Virrat and Ähtäri.

Kyltti poliisiauton katolla.
The suspects live in the Helsinki metropolitan area. Image: AOP

Police have arrested two men from the Helsinki metropolitan area on suspicion of committing aggravated drug offences in relation to isolated summer cottages suspected to have been used as cannabis farms.

Three properties, owned by a third suspect, have also been seized as part of the investigation.

A preliminary investigation was launched when a cannabis farm was discovered at a property in the village of Kolho, near Mänttä-Villpula in the Pirkanmaa region.

According to police, there were clear indications that the drug was being grown by a person or persons with expertise, as the plants had been provided with artificial lighting, irrigation and a ventilation system.

"This is a 'granny cottage' in the remote countryside, of which there are many in Finland," the Central Finland Police Department’s commissioner Kari Aaltio said.

The term 'granny cottage' ('mummonmökki' in Finnish) refers to a small cottage in a remote area historically used for summer holidays but lacking some of the amenities and comfort modern Finns expect from their rural cabins.

Police request local help in rural areas

In addition to the Kolho property, the suspect owns similar cottages in Virrat, also located in Pirkanmaa, and in the Southern Ostrobothnian town of Ähtäri, as well as an apartment in Helsinki.

Police conducted a search of each property, and evidence of cannabis growth was found at both the Virrat and Ähtäri properties.

The suspected crime came to light after the police launched their own inquiry, but Aaltio encouraged locals in rural areas to contact police if they notice unusual activity.

"If in remote villages, buildings that have been empty for a long time start to be used again, and the windows are covered with plastic, then suspicions should be raised," Aaltio said.

About four kilos of cannabis was found during the investigation, as well as a consignment of amphetamines which was discovered during the search of an apartment in Helsinki. According to police, one suspect has been previously involved in the trafficking of cocaine.

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