A FIRE-HIT former mill in Cradley Heath will be flattened this week as police confirmed a cannabis factory was discovered next door during the blaze.

The gutted remains of the factory building on the Doulton Industrial Estate in Doulton Road will be torn down on Wednesday after it was condemned as unsafe.

The news comes as police said they had arrested a 27-year-old man from Bromsgrove after a cannabis factory of 60 plants was found in a neighbouring property by firefighters tackling the fire.

The man has been arrested on suspicion of cultivating cannabis and has been released while inquiries are ongoing.

The owner of the former mill Martyn Cox said the ground floor of the building had been rented out to a balustrading firm, while the other three floors had been empty.

Mr Cox, who had been to the site today, said: "It will be demolished on Wednesday.

"I have met with Sandwell Council there today and they have condemned the building as unstable and unsafe.

"I have owned it for the last 30 years - for a lot of that time it has been empty, but there was a tenant on the ground floor, a balustrading manufacturer.

"The roof was leaking like a sieve - I had some roof repairs done last year which makes it a harder pill to swallow.

"I'm very sad about it.

"It's a former mill from the late 1800s."

Mr Cox said he had not decided what to do about the future of the site, once the former mill is gone.

A spokesman for West Midlands Police said the cannabis plants had been seized and the set-up dismantled.

Dozens of firefighters tackled the huge fire which broke out at around midnight on Sunday (May 19) .

Lee@Batesy_25 tweeted pictures from the scene.

Flames towered into the sky as more than 25 firefighters pumped water from the nearby Dudley Canal, with crews from Dudley, Oldbury, Brierley Hill, Tettenhall, Tipton and Haden Cross at the scene.

Firefighters attended the scene again yesterday and today (Monday) with thermal imaging cameras to ensure there were no hot spots which could reignite.

A structural engineer from Sandwell Council also attended the scene.

A spokesman for West Midlands Fire Service said a structural engineer had been called back to the scene at 6.30pm yesterday (Sunday) after cracks in the building had been spotted getting bigger. 

He said a cordon had been put around the building and other premises on the estate had been made aware. 

Investigators are still trying to ascertain the cause of the fire.