Diamond Banqueting Suite in Wolverhampton city center, where 700 cannabis plants were found
Four men were found hiding in an elevator shaft of the Diamond Banqueting Suite on Skinner Street when police raided the building on Wednesday afternoon.
Around 700 cannabis plants grew on the four floors of the former cinema and bingo hall after it had been converted into a drug factory.
Officials searched the building Wednesday afternoon after becoming aware of suspicious activity.
Officials were seen on Skinner Street donning suits and masks for hazardous waste
The four men between the ages of 18 and 30 who were hiding in the Diamond Suite were all arrested on suspicion of growing cannabis.
They remained in custody Thursday while West Midlands Police officers continued to investigate the building.
Three officers were wearing white hazardous waste suits and face masks on Thursday morning when they entered the four-story banquet suite, which can accommodate up to 750 guests.
The Diamond Banqueting Suite has been a popular Wolverhampton venue for more than 80 years.
The banquet suite is a popular venue for weddings and other events
The listed building, which opened as the Odeon cinema in 1937, has seen many different lives. The center reopened as a Mecca bingo hall in 1983 after the cinema was closed, before becoming the banquet suite in 2009.
Its three suites have been used for events such as weddings, Christmas parties and corporate events, as well as professional wrestling, boxing and mixed martial arts events and concerts.
The last event in the banquet suite was a martial arts evening on March 14th last year and the suite has been inactive ever since.
A West Midlands Police spokesman said: “We arrested four men after finding a cannabis factory in the Diamond Banqueting Suite on Skinner Street, Wolverhampton, at around 3:40 pm yesterday.
“Officials were called to suspicious activity on the premises and discovered around 700 plants and implements.
“When the building was searched, four men were found hiding in an elevator shaft.
“Four men, ages 18, 24, 29 and 30, were arrested on suspicion of growing cannabis and are being held for questioning during the investigation.
“Anyone with information can send us a message via live chat at west-midlands.police.uk, call 101, or speak to Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 using crime number 20/105335/21.”