FIREFIGHTERS who were called to a blaze in a terrace house yesterday discovered that a host of cannabis plants had gone up in flames.

The fire broke out in the loft of the house which police described as a "cannabis factory".

Lights used to cultivate the plants are thought to have started the fire.

Firefighters were called by neighbours in Albert Road, Farnworth, just after 3pm yesterday when a man was seen running out of the house to escape the smoke. After the blaze had been dealt with, the house was sealed off for forensic examination.

Police said a quantity of plants in various stages of cultivation were found at the property.

A 22-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of cultivating cannabis.

A neighbour said: "This could have been really serious as the fire could have spread throughout the whole row of houses.

"I thought there was something suspicious going on because I could smell the cannabis."

The fire broke out just 24 hours after police issued a "Shop them" plea to residents who suspect neighbours of setting up cannabis farms in their homes.

Four other drugs factories have been discovered in Bolton houses during the past four weeks.

Hundreds of cannabis plants were found in two homes in Bromley Cross and in the loft of a Blackrod house last month.

Last week a cannabis farm was uncovered in Cestrian Street, Great Lever, where plants worth up to £500,000 were found.

The two farms in separate houses in Queen's Avenue, Bromley Cross, contained more than 400 plants and were discovered when the landlord was called to the properties because of an electrical fault.