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Cannabis factory discovered

Cannabis plant
Cannabis plant

A cannabis factory was discovered in an Ashford garden after neighbours reported "a glow" and an unusual smell coming from a shed, a court heard.

Police raided the brick outbuilding at number 34, Repton Manor Road and found remnants of cannabis plants and other paraphernalia. In a car parked outside the property they also found nine plants capable of producing up to £7,200 worth of skunk cannabis.

"The quantity would be well beyond that expected of personal use for a single person," said prosecutor Simon Sandford.

Vincent Ellis, 23, of Herdwick Close, Ashford, admitted producing cannabis between June and August last year and was jailed for 21 months.

The court heard he was responsible for looking after the plants and was paid £200.

Passing sentence Judge Jeremy Carey said he accepted that others were involved but said Ellis acted as a gardener and was "an essential cog in the wheel".

"I don't suppose you then, or now, regard your behaviour as criminal," the judge added. "It may well be that there is a generally perceived belief that 'a bit of blow' is perfectly all right to have, and to be involved in the production of 'a bit of blow' is all right. Well it's not. It is against the law."

The court heard the shed was in the garden of a property rented by his then girlfriend. Ellis, a father-of-two, was seen by two neighbours with two men acting suspiciously near the shed in June last year.

"They were carrying black bin bags and unloading the contents into the shed," said the prosecutor. "Windows were blacked out and a cable was running into the shed from the kitchen.

"Through a gap which hadn't been blacked out they could see a glow coming from the shed and could smell an unusual smell."

The neighbours reported what they had seen to the police - and alerted them again in August when they saw black bin bags being loaded into a car.

When officers arrived the drugs factory was being dismantled.

Nicholas Maggs, defending, said Ellis had not appreciated the seriousness of what he had agreed to do or how much cannabis would be produced. "He dipped his toe in this for a brief period to make some money."

There was no suggestion that Ellis's former girlfriend was involved.

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