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David Hill jailed after cannabis factory hidden in East Peckham barn

A man who hooked up a cannabis factory to overhead power lines in East Peckham has been jailed for three years.

David Hill had established five grow rooms in a two storey barn in Bells Farm Road but was caught after he was stopped in his car by local patrols for not having a valid driving licence.

The 43-year-old had come to the attention of police in the area in October last year. Checks showed he wasn’t permitted to drive and when his car was stopped officers could smell cannabis.

David Hill has been jailed for three years
David Hill has been jailed for three years

Hill had been seen entering and leaving a large barn and was taken there for a search. On arrival he confessed the barn was used to grow more than 100 cannabis plants and showed officers a large bunch of keys, one of which opened a padlock to the site.

Inside were five separate rooms containing cannabis in various growing stages. An overhead cable had been tapped into, to power equipment used to cultivate the drug.

Officers then searched Hill’s home address in Lobelia Close, Gillingham. Here they discovered a cellar, used to dry out the cannabis grown in the barn. A carrier bag containing around half a kilo of cannabis ready to sell was also discovered in a kitchen cupboard.

The cannabis factory was hidden in a barn
The cannabis factory was hidden in a barn

During police interview Hill admitted cultivating the drug and claimed an unnamed electrician had been paid to abstract the electricity supply. He insisted no one else was involved.

Hill appeared at Maidstone Crown Court yesterday having previously pleaded guilty to charges of producing cannabis and abstracting electricity.

He was sentenced to three years in prison and also disqualified from driving for six and a half years after admitting further charges of driving without a licence or insurance.

The barn in East Peckham where the cannabis factory was concealed
The barn in East Peckham where the cannabis factory was concealed

Tonbridge Sergeant Joe Breen said: "Cannabis cultivation is a serious offence and this sentence demonstrates that. Organised gangs and individuals can generate huge sums of money from growing and harvesting these plants, often at the expense of landlords who have their properties ruined by the setting up and running of illegal sites.

"These sites also take a long time to dismantle and are very hazardous to officers and anyone else who may enter. This site was wired directly into the overhead mains power cable.

"We actively target people and gangs growing cannabis regardless of the scale of the operation and even when criminals are behind bars we continue efforts to recover as much of their profits as possible. In this instance I think it is also very likely Hill can expect an unpaid electricity bill running into thousands of pounds."

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