December 9 2013 Latest news:
Wednesday, October 2, 2013
A man who managed the largest cannabis factory ever discovered in Cambridgeshire has been jailed and ordered to pay back more than £1million.
And the owner of the land and barn in Haddenham, was jailed for seven years yesterday, after being found guilty of conspiracy to produce cannabis.
Kevin Hart, 43, of Elm Close, Huntingdon, ran the factory at Tree Farm, in Hill Row Causeway, which was raided by police in July 2010.
Officers discovered cannabis production on an industrial scale, with 7,655 plants in various stages of growth.
The estimated street value of the recovered plants was £1.75million with a yearly yield of about £8million.
Hart and seven others were arrested and charged with conspiracy to produce cannabis.
Hart pleaded guilty in March last year and was jailed for 10 years.
During a Proceeds of Crime investigation, Hart conceded to a criminal benefit of £8.5million. Judge Gareth Hawkesworth ordered a confiscation order of £1million against him, the largest for a case in Cambridgeshire.
Details of the case could not be reported until the conclusion of landowner Neil Badcock’s trial. Badcock, 45, of Linden Way, Haddenham, was found guilty on Tuesday following a trial at Cambridge Crown Court.
Six other people pleaded guilty to conspiracy to produce cannabis and were sentenced at Cambridge Crown Court in August 2011.
They were: Michael Orchard, 43, of Orchard Close, Warboys, jailed for four years and four months; Craig Green, 32, of Primrose Lane, Huntingdon, jailed for four years; Kyle Green, 28, also of Primrose Lane, Huntingdon, jailed for three years and three months; Matthew Wood, of Wulfstan Way, Cambridge, jailed for three years; Trevor Richardson, 33, of Saunders Close, Huntingdon, was jailed for two years and eight months; and Marcus Burton, 48, of Montfort Way, Cambridge, jailed for two years and six months. The total criminal benefit conceded by all involved was more than £10.2million.
Det Insp Craig Harrison said the factory was run as a business with a clear and defined management structure, with staff paid wages depending on their role and responsibilities.
He said: “This was a network of criminals who were both organised and professional in the manner in which they conducted their criminal business, not only in terms of the production and supply of the drugs but also in the tactics they employed in an attempt to avoid detection from law enforcement agencies.”