£10million Northampton cannabis factory seized and destroyed by police, court hears

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Five people have been sentenced for their part in running a £10 million cannabis factory out of a rented Northampton warehouse.

Officers discovered the huge drugs operation in a warehouse in Gallowhill Road, Brackmills, in October 2014, after concerns were raised by members of the public.

3,400 cannabis plants in various stages of growth were found inside the unit.

A second factory was found in the Corringham Road Industrial Estate in Gainsborough, Lincolnshire, where a further 2,500 plants were discovered.

And another 300 plants were found by police during a further raid at a property in St James Park Road, Northampton in June 2015.

It is estimated that the hydroponics set-ups would have generated £10 million a year had they continued.

Five people were sentenced at Northampton Crown Court yesterday (September 29) for their part in the production and supply of cannabis.

Dinesh Khetani, aged 33, of Brent, London, was found guilty to conspiracy to produce cannabis at the end of a trial in August. He was jailed for six years.

Peter Brown, aged 28, of Stanford Le Hope, Thurrock, Essex, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to produce cannabis and was also jailed for six years.

Kyle Nixon, aged 27, of Hoo, Rochester, Kent, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to produce cannabis and imprisoned for three years and four months.

Warren Willsher, aged 27, of East Ham, London, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to produce cannabis and received a sentence of three years and four months.

Nicola Bowers, aged 29, of Stanford Le Hope, Thurrock, Essex, pleaded guilty to money laundering. She was sentenced to four months suspended for two years, and ordered to carry out 120 hours unpaid work.

A sixth defendant, Duong Tuan Nguyen, aged 21, of Bishop Auckland, Durham, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to produce cannabis and is due to be sentenced today after failing to appear yesterday.

Detective Constable Alex O’Meara, from the Serious and Organised Crime Team, said: “This was a very large criminal enterprise that was capable of producing a vast quantity of cannabis.

“Those involved travelled considerable distances to commit their crimes in an attempt to avoid detection. This case is a stark reminder that county borders are no longer a barrier to police investigations.

“It can be easy to dismiss cannabis production as a victimless crime, however, drug production is the first step towards more serious violent offences being committed in our neighbourhoods.

“More than £50,000 was paid by the group to rent the industrial units and police seized a further £60,000 in cash during searches of the defendants’ home addresses.

“The group deceived unsuspecting landlords through the use of forged documents to rent the premises involved.

“Northamptonshire is a hostile environment for criminals and we rely on our communities to help us continue to keep them safe.

“Anyone with information about the production or supply of illegal drugs can call Police on 101 or independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”