THE whiff of a spliff helped police officers weed out cannabis criminals in a joint effort in Sydenham yesterday evening.

At 10.30pm, officers from Bromley's North West Neighbourhood policing teams 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 in excess of 500 fully grown cannabis plants.

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

Bromley police's Sergeant Rob Goodwin said: "This seizure represents a major and unexpected dent in the network of cannabis supply in the South East London area and was brought about through proactive local neighbourhood policing."

The man has not yet been traced.