A MAN and a woman have been detained by police after firefighters were deployed to tackle a flat fire and uncovered a small cannabis factory inside the property.

Emergency services were called to the flat on Heather Close in Birchwood on Saturday after the alarm was raised at 11.15am when neighbours spotted large amounts of smoke billowing from a second-floor window.

After arriving at the scene, firefighters at Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service discovered that the flat was empty.

But neighbouring residents were evacuated as the blaze spread to the roof space of the property.

Police were later called to the flat after a small number of plants were found inside.

A 33-year-old man and a 35-year-old woman were arrested on suspicion of cultivating cannabis.

Detectives have confirmed that enquiries are ongoing.

A police spokesman said: “Shortly before 11.30am, police were called to reports of a flat fire on Heather Close in Birchwood.

“Emergency services attended the scene and the fire was extinguished.

“The occupants of the address are not believed to have sustained any injuries.

“A small number of plants, believed to be cannabis, were found inside the property. “

Anyone with information can call Cheshire Police quoting incident number 330 of  March 18 on 101 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.