A HAUL of around 30 cannabis plants was discovered in a Southampton home yesterday when police raided the property.

Three men were arrested following the surprise lunchtime raid on a semi-detached house in Bullar Road, Bitterne.

Officers wearing gloves were still carrying out the haul to waiting vans late last night, but police estimate that the stash had a street value of at least £6,000.

The lucrative cannabis factory was installed in the large basement of the three-bedroom house, and police were yesterday removing lamps and heaters as well as plants for further investigation.

The discovery has stunned residents in the street.

A next-door neighbour who had just moved in said his two children had played at the house with the child of a man in his 40s who lived there.

"If I'd known this kind of stuff was going on there, they'd never have been allowed over," said the man, who did not wish to be named.

"I can't believe it. Without a doubt this has come as a shock - we've only just moved into the street and we thought it was a good area."

The raid happened shortly after 1pm when police officers carrying battering rams dashed from a nearby car park to the door of the house.

Eyewitness Gill Toomer, who has lived in the street for 17 years, said: "The man who lived there hadn't been back long. The police just battered the door down.

"Then two more men came up the street. They didn't even get a chance to reach the door before the police were on to them.

"They arrested them out in the front garden."

She added: "I've always thought there was something going on at that house.

"A man has been renting it for a couple of years.

"There are always people coming and going, people staying over.

"Maybe I'm suspicious, but I wasn't surprised to see the police there. You can't not work and still have money for cars and children's toys."

The men were being questioned at Bitterne police station last night.