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Paul Fentiman and Gary Webb jailed after turning a farm into a cannabis factory

A cannabis plant found in Rochester
A cannabis plant found in Rochester

by Keith Hunt

Two men have been jailed after a Kent farm was turned into a cannabis growing factory capable of making "hundreds of thousands of pounds".

Paul Fentiman, who owned Alder Fruit Farm in Rolvenden, near Ashford, was sentenced to six years and Gary Webb, described as a gardener for the strong skunk cannabis, to three years.

Fentiman, 52, of Marshalls Lane, St Michael's, Tenterden, and Webb, 46, of Comyn Road, Battersea, London, denied producing the drug but were convicted.

Judge Martin Joy told them: "You have been convicted on utterly overwhelming evidence. This was a massive cannabis farm to supply Kent with skunk worth hundreds of thousands of pounds."

Maidstone Crown Court heard police raided the farm and found cannabis plants and drugs equipment in various rooms and a garage in October last year.

Plants were also thriving in a polytunnel in a nearby field and in a caravan there.

As officers approached they saw two men standing at one end of the polytunnel. Fentiman stayed but Webb ran off before being arrested.

Prosecutor James Fletcher said the polytunnel was full of plants, while others were hanging from the rafters of the garage.

A hydroponic system had been installed in a bedroom. Others were fitted with reflective materials and strong lighting.

Seedlings were under a light in the bathroom and cannabis buds were hanging from a rope to dry in another room. Dried leaves were also found in Tupperware boxes in the utility room.

About £4,000 was seized from the boot of an Audi car.

Fentiman told officers he bought the property 12 years earlier. He added he demolished the original bungalow and built the farmhouse.

He said he was not living there at the time but had rented it to Webb. He lived in Tenterden, he said, and visited the farm to feed his cats.

Fentiman claimed he knew nothing about the cannabis being grown.

Mr Fletcher said neither Fentiman nor Webb were the "Mr Bigs" in the operation. The farm was valued at about £400,000 but had been repossessed.

Fentiman had a number of previous convictions. He was jailed in 2005 for causing death by careless driving. Webb also had convictions.

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