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Appeal for information after death of man in Dudley fire

We are urgently appealing for information after a man has died following a fire at a cannabis factory in Brierley Hill. 

We were alerted to a blaze at an industrial unit at Premier Trading Estate, Leys Road, around 7.30pm on Thursday (4 June). 

Two men were pulled from the unit, with one of them taken to hospital in a serious condition. The 43-year-old man sadly died yesterday afternoon (5 June) and a post mortem examination will take place to establish the cause of death. 

The other man, aged in his 20s, was also taken to hospital and has since been discharged.

We believe both these men had been trafficked into the UK from abroad and were effectively being held against their will. The unit, used to grow cannabis on an industrial scale, was locked meaning these men had no way to escape the fire, which tragically lead to one man’s death. 

We are continuing to work closely with the fire service and their specialist investigation team to establish the cause of the fire and the scene is currently being held for forensic analysis as searches continue over the next few days. 

Detective Inspector Jim Mahon from force CID said: “A man has sadly died and we’re working to establish the full circumstances of what happened. 

“We are urgently appealing for anyone with information about who is involved in exploiting these men, and involved in the set up to contact us. 

“We know there was a drone flying over the unit when the fire first broke out, so we are appealing to the owner of the drone to contact us directly, as the footage recorded may hold vital information in our investigation. 

“In order to make the site safe and to recover vital evidence, we have had to suspend power to the trading estate. I want to thank anyone affected by this power outage for their co-operation.” 

Superintendent Jason Anderson of Dudley Neighbourhood Policing Unit said: “Our thoughts are with the family of the man who has tragically lost his life in these awful circumstances. We will be supporting detectives leading this enquiry anyway we can. 

“A cannabis factory was discovered at the unit and we now believe these vulnerable men were trafficked into the UK and criminally exploited. 

“We understand the concerns and harm that drugs cause in our communities and we continue to work tirelessly with partners to prevent organised criminality and the exploitation of vulnerable people in this way.” 

Anyone with footage, or any information, no matter how small it may seem, is urged to contact us via Live Chat on our website, or by calling 101. 

Alternatively contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. 
Please quote log number 3969 of 4 June. 

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