Police halt £10m cannabis farm operation over two counties

Six people in a “very large criminal enterprise” involving producing thousands of cannabis plants at three sites straddling two counties have been jailed for nearly 20 years

Oct 2, 2017

Six people in a “very large criminal enterprise” involving producing thousands of cannabis plants at three sites straddling two counties have been jailed for nearly 20 years. Officers discovered the operation in a warehouse in Brackmills, Northampton, on October 13, 2014, after concerns were raised by members of the public. A total of 3,400 cannabis plants in various stages of growth were inside the unit, and a second factory containing 2,500 plants was found in Gainsborough, Lincolnshire. A further 300 were uncovered in a raid at a property in Northampton in June 2015. It is estimated that the factories would have generated around £10 million a year had they continued to operate. Northamptonshire Police said the group were using forged documents to rent the units from “unsuspecting landlords”. On Thursday (September 26), Dinesh Khetani, 33, from Brent in north-west London, and Peter Brown, 28, from Stanford-le-Hope in Essex, were found guilty of conspiracy to produce cannabis, and sentenced to six years in prison. Kye Nixon, 27, from Hoo in Kent, and 27-year-old Warren Willsher, from East Ham, east London, both pleaded guilty to the same offence and were imprisoned for three years and four months. Nicola Bowers, 29, from Standford-le-Hope, pleaded guilty to money laundering. She was sentenced to four months in prison suspended for two years, and ordered to carry out 120 hours of unpaid work. A sixth defendant, Duong Tuan Nguyen, 21, from Durham, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to produce cannabis and is due to be sentenced on October 5. Detective Constable Alex O’Meara, from the Serious and Organised Crime Team, said: “This was a very large criminal enterprise that was capable of producing a vast quantity of cannabis. “Those involved travelled considerable distances to commit their crimes in an attempt to avoid detection. This case is a stark reminder that county borders are no longer a barrier to police investigations. “It can be easy to dismiss cannabis production as a victimless crime, however, drug production is the first step towards more serious violent offences being committed in our neighbourhoods. “More than £50,000 was paid by the group to rent the industrial units and police seized a further £60,000 in cash during searches of the defendants’ home addresses.”

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