Jail for Bradford man, 56, behind cannabis factory in shipping containers
Updated 2:40pm Wednesday 11th June 2014 in News
A 56-year-old who was involved running a commercial cannabis factory in two shipping containers at a Bradford Leigh farm has been jailed for three years.
Stephen James, whose address was given in court as Hill Corner Farm, Bradford Leigh, Bradford on Avon, set up and equipped two shipping containers so they could be used for the production of the drug.
And the handyman was then responsible for the day to day care of the 222 plants which were found at Leigh House Farm Liveries in September 2012.
James, of Bradford Leigh, had pleaded not guilty to a charge producing a class-B drug but was convicted at a Swindon Crown Court trial last month.
When police raided the farm they found the two large containers had been converted for the use in drug production.
They had been fitted with electricity for heat and lighting as well as ventilation systems to enable the production of the drugs.
James was caught after his fingerprints and DNA were found inside the units and, though he denied any wrongdoing, a jury did not believe him.
The cannabis found in the containers were at various stage of development, from seedlings to mature plants, and could have yielded £53,800 in street deals.
Alex Daymond, defending, told the court today that someone else had rented the premises and there was no evidence of any financial agreement He handed in a number of references telling the court that there were a number of people who spoke highly of him.
Judge Tim Mousley QC said the containers were "expertly converted and equipped to produce cannabis on a commercial scale".
He said: "The operation had the potential to produce something in the range of £50,000 if they had all been sold in the smallest street deals.
"I am satisfied you converted and equipped those containers and were responsible for the daily care of those plants."