Man jailed for managing cannabis factory

JON WELCH A man has been jailed for managing one of the biggest cannabis factories ever discovered in Norfolk. The factory, in a converted pig shed at Attleborough, contained thousands of cannabis plants and was capable of producing drugs with a street value of £2.

JON WELCH

A man has been jailed for managing one of the biggest cannabis factories ever discovered in Norfolk.

The factory, in a converted pig shed at Attleborough, contained thousands of cannabis plants and was capable of producing drugs with a street value of £2.3m, bringing the growers an estimated £1m profit.

Anthony Hindle, 37, of Fifers Lane, Norwich, appeared before Norwich Crown Court and admitted two counts of conspiracy to produce cannabis, possession of cocaine and a firearms charge.


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Police officers discovered the factory at Walnut Tree Farm, West Carr Road, Attleborough, on March 24. After forcing entry, they found what they described as a “significant hydroponics cannabis-growing facility”.

The court heard the factory was a sophisticated set-up with high-wattage lamps, ventilation ducts and generators.

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It contained 2,089 flowering cannabis plants capable of producing exceptionally large amounts of good quality skunk-type cannabis with a potential for three crops a year.

Hindle admitted his involvement with the Attleborough factory and another at Doncaster, South Yorkshire.

He also admitted possession of nearly 28 grams of cocaine, which was found in his car, and possession of a pistol.

Recorder John Akast said it was in Hindle's favour that the Attleborough factory was in the early stages of production and that he was not the organiser or owner. Nevertheless, he played a crucial role.

“It seems to me he was central in the day-to-day running of the operation. This defendant was very much their man on the spot. He clearly had a significant role in setting the factory up and in maintaining its running day to day.”

Jailing Hindle for a total of eight years, four months, Mr Akast told him: “If you get involved in an operation this size there is a price to pay. I'm sorry about it but this is too large to overlook.”

Hindle winced as sentence was passed.

Investigating officer Det Sgt Jason Davis of Thetford CID said: “The sentence is the culmination of a lengthy and involved police investigation involving a large number of officers.

“The sentence should send out a clear message that individuals who play a part in drugs supply will be dealt with robustly.

“This was a highly sophisticated and highly organised operation and was clearly set up as a commercial enterprise at the top end of the scale.”

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