Photo via WMP

Earlier this month, a thermal imaging camera attached to a government drone uncovered an illicit cannabis grow with 667 plants hidden in a former pub in a small English town.

According to Birmingham Live, the heat-sensing drone was able to pick up on the black market cultivation site thanks to the unusual temperature of the building’s grow lights. Once inside, cops dismantled the grow operation and destroyed the plants, which cops later valued at approximately £500,000.

But despite the military-grade surveillance tech and warrantless sky-high searches, local cops did not locate any people associated with the black market grow house and did not make any arrests.

The cannabis bust comes amidst global protests against police brutality and overspending, including massive marches in London and Birmingham. And if you need an example of just how defunding the police could help underserved communities, just think about how much money was spent to buy, maintain, and operate the heat-tracking drone cruising above rural England. 

Across the world, drone companies have played both sides of the policing fence, with some autonomous fliers used to deliver weed in legal states like Washington, while other high tech companies have sold their heat-tracking cameras as a way to weed out MDMA users at festivals.

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