The whiff of a spliff helped police officers weed out cannabis criminals near Crystal Palace Park yesterday evening.

At 10.30pm, officers were on patrol in Crystal Palace Park Road when they noticed a strong smell of cannabis.

They approached a detached house, where a man was placing large bags inside a wheelie bin.

The man saw the police and immediately ran off into Crystal Palace Park.

Officers entered the house and found it had been converted into a cannabis factory, with four large rooms set up with ventilating and heating equipment, and more than 500 fully grown cannabis plants.

The suspect was in the process of cropping and moving the cannabis out of the home when disturbed by police.

Enquiries are ongoing to trace the man.