Police tore open the boarded-up door of a derelict pub during a raid after intelligence suggested the property was possibly being used as a cannabis factory.

The Hendon pub in Hendon Way, near Brent Cross Shopping Centre, was permanently closed in November 2023 and remains on the market.

Since then, people in the community warned local policing teams that the premises was being used to grow the class B drug.

Brent & Kilburn Times: Doors and windows at The Hendon were boarded upDoors and windows at The Hendon were boarded up (Image: Joseph Reaidi)

After investigating the claims – by collecting drone footage with heat maps and noting people entering at unusual times – a drug raid was carried out at the site yesterday (February 1).

This paper accompanied the Metropolitan Police to get an inside look at how police are addressing concerns raised by the public.

Brent & Kilburn Times: Inside The Hendon pubInside The Hendon pub (Image: Joseph Reaidi)

Teams across the Basic Command Unit (BCU) and the force were jointly involved in what was anticipated to be a potential major raid.

During a morning briefing before the raid, police were warned that this would not be a rapid entry, as drug factories busted in the past can be booby trapped.

Brent & Kilburn Times: A close up of a door bashed in by policeA close up of a door bashed in by police (Image: Joseph Reaidi)

Metal coverings boarded up the public house from the outside and the Method of Entry team had to carefully remove the plates before wrenching the door open to storm inside.

But after a thorough search, no signs of drug production could be found – although there were signs that squatters might have been living in the venue.

Brent & Kilburn Times: A room inside The Hendon pubA room inside The Hendon pub (Image: Joseph Reaidi)

Sergeant Darren Brain, in charge of Hendon and West Hendon ward, led the operation. He said: “It’s the intel we can’t ignore. When the community gives us this information, we work to develop it. That intelligence is presented to the magistrates for us to get a warrant.”

He added: “Just because it hasn’t been fruitful today, doesn’t mean it’s going to prevent us in the future where everything will be judged and it goes through the magistrates.”

Brent & Kilburn Times: Sergeant Darren BrainSergeant Darren Brain (Image: Joseph Reaidi)

Sgt Brain stressed the importance of community policing and the public having faith to come forward to local officers.

Although in this case the intelligence led to nothing being found, the force hopes people will know their concerns will be listened to and investigated.

Sgt Brain continued: “We would look at the hours of day that people are going, the products that are being taken to the venue, anything that might be able to heighten our suspicion. This is a vacant property, it was closed in November, there should be no one in there.

“All this information that community members give to us had to be acted on. It sends a message that we will act on their intelligence. We want to send police out there and take action.

Brent & Kilburn Times: Inside the pub - with signs that people were sleeping thereInside the pub - with signs that people were sleeping there (Image: Joseph Reaidi)

“If Joe Bloggs is dealing drugs in an address and causing misery for everyone, then they’d expect the police to deal with Joe Bloggs. That’s the message, we will listen to the community, we will take their concerns seriously.

“That relies on the community telling us, supplying us intelligence and trusting us. We deal with the local matters that matter the most to the community.”

PCSO Leo Walker, who has been on West Hendon ward for four years, told the paper why he believes community policing is important

Brent & Kilburn Times: PCSO Leo WalkerPCSO Leo Walker (Image: Joseph Reaidi)

He said: “I’ve been on the patrol for a day-to-day basis.

“They like to see us, we have all sorts of people coming up to me and saying well done and thank you. Especially in the Jewish community, we get that every day.”

“It’s actually brilliant, they tell you what’s happening in the community and it makes you feel like you’re doing something.”