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Monday, 28 July 2014

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Three admit plot to grow cannabis plants in Cumbrian warehouse

Three men have admitted being in a plot to grow hundreds of cannabis plants in a west Cumbrian warehouse.

They were arrested in July after detectives from Cumbria Constabulary's Serious and Organised Crime Unit raided the building on the Glasson Industrial Estate in Maryport.

More than 400 plants were found growing under lights in one of the unit’s three rooms.

At Carlisle Crown Court, the three men pleaded guilty to conspiring together to produce the banned drug.

They were: Edward John Devlin, 55 of Stoneycroft, Great Clifton, near Workington; Mark Anthony Bower, 43, of Church Road, Harrington, Workington; Nicholas John Wilson, 28, of Hollin Bank Court, Blackburn.

They were all remanded in custody for background reports and will next appear in court on Friday, November 5.

On that day evidence will have to be called to contest claims by Devlin and Bower that they would not have grown any more plants in two empty rooms alongside the one being used to cultivate the cannabis found by the police.

The prosecution says the gang would have gone on to grow up to 1,000 more plants in the empty rooms if the they had not been stopped.

“This was a professional operation with a capacity to produce plants on a scale substantially greater than the numbers which were already there,” prosecuting counsel Kim Whittlestone said. “It was still in its infancy when it was found by the police.”

Paul David Sharpe, 35, of Bolton Street, Workington, pleaded not guilty to conspiring to produce cannabis.

This charge was lain on the court file and will not be proceeded with, for what Ms Whittlestone called “pragmatic reasons”.

She said that although there was evidence that Sharpe had been involved the prosecution could not disprove the explanation he gave to the police.

Devlin and Jason Baker, 25, of Heatherdale Drive, Manchester, have also been charged with conspiring with others to rob the Lloyds TSB bank at Workington.

This charge was not put to them in court yesterday.

A further hearing in respect of that charge will be held on October 22.

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