As an Idealis caretaker, Eugene van Meteren encounters his fair share of funny smells. But there was something very fishy about this one.
Early one morning I got a call from a mechanic. ‘Eugene, can you pop over here? I’m doing a spot check in a room and I’m seeing things that don’t belong here.’ I decided to go round straightaway and asked my colleague to go with me. On arrival we were met by a penetrating smell. I opened the door and we went in together. It was immediately clear what was causing the smell. The room was full of dozens of cannabis plants, there were several heat lamps hanging from the ceiling and on the desk I could see at least 10 glass jars of dried weed ready for sale. I felt like I was on the set of Pulp Fiction.
Given the seriousness of the situation, we decided to phone the police. We waited for them outside the building. After half an hour I glanced up at the room on the first floor where we had just been, and saw the curtains move.
We ran back to the room, the door of which was now ajar. I knocked and a young man appeared at the door. ‘What are you doing here?’ he asked. I explained the situation and asked if we could come in. The irritated resident blocked the door but after some discussion decided to let us in. The whole room had been turned upside down, there was mess everywhere but to my astonishment, not a trace of cannabis. I told him what we had seen half an hour ago. At first he denied it – until my colleague showed him the photos on his mobile phone.
Meanwhile, two policemen had arrived and took over from us professionally. It turned out that while we were waiting for the police, the resident of the room had moved all the plants to another room and flushed the whole lot down the toilet. I have to hand it to him – it was a very creative attempt to get out of a tight corner.