Police in Oldham, Lancashire, have been left red faced after raiding a suspicious warehouse in the Lees area.
"Our intelligence was good," said detective in charge, Katrina Kitts. "The warehouse was drawing unusual power, locals had seen dodgy looking characters coming and going at all hours, and there was a constant supply of pizza to the place."
All the signs pointed to the warehouse being an illegal marijuana farm. The police raided in the early hours of the morning.
"At first we thought we'd hit the jackpot," said Kitts. "There were sunlamps on all over the warehouse and racks and racks of irrigation pods with plenty of greenery growing there."
Having failed to take a botanist along with them, the crack team of detectives arrested all three people in the warehouse and confiscated all one thousand plants. Two trucks were required to take all of the equipment and plants away.
"It wasn't until we had the miscreants in our interrogation rooms, and PC Munchies looking at the plants that we realised our mistake," said Kitts. "None of the plants were marijuana, hemp, skunk or anything."
Every single last plant was a chilli pepper plant.
"There were a range of varieties," said Kitts, "including one that the owners claimed to be the hottest shit ever. The pizzas being delivered were for eating with the chillies, as the group enjoyed very hot pizzas."
Just to make sure that the chillies were not simply cleverly disguised marijuana, the officers at Oldham central ate some.
"It turns out," said Kitts, "a lot of us had a severe reaction, which has left us all rather red faced."