Fenland farm used for multi-million pound drugs operation - five jailed

THE ringleader of a gang who paid a Fenland businessman �1,000 a month to rent a warehouse capable of producing �2million worth of cannabis a year has been jailed for six years.

The sophisticated operation led by 58-year-old grandfather Raymond Reid ran between January last year and May this year but came crashing down following a police raid.

Detectives discovered the entire length of one section of the warehouse, some 40 to 50 metres, was filled with rows of cannabis plants. The total estimated yield was 118kg of skunk cannabis with a value of between �324,500 and �674,285 depending on the wholesale and street prices.

The unit had been equipped with lighting, fans, heaters and air conditioning units. Windows had been blacked out with plastic sheeting and there were containers of chemicals being used including Biobizz, Rhizotonic and Canazym.

The gang used the name ‘Bright Sparks Consultancy Ltd’ to rent the warehouse at Lower Mount Pleasant Farm, Chatteris. Documents recovered show that the gang acquired at least 17,000 litres of fuel between April 2009 and April 2010 for the generator which they kept running continuously.

The annual yield from the premises the five gang members had adapted for their illegal venture is estimated at between �973,500 and �2,022,857, depending on current wholesale and street prices.

The gang producing the cannabis on an industrial scale was sentenced to a total of 15 years and one month at Guildford Crown Court last Thursday.

Most Read

Reid, 58, of Park Heights, Constitution Hill, Woking, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to produce and supply cannabis and was sentenced along with four co-defendants.

Also in the dock were Christopher Morrison, 27, of Ashton Road, Luton; Desmond Schwartz, 36, of Corton Close, Stevenage; Russell Robinson, 37, of Eddiwick Avenue, Dunstable; and Mark Glencross, 41, of Archer Road, Stevenage, each of whom admitted the same charges.

Samantha Cohen, prosecuting, said: “In terms of levels of involvement, the Crown would put Raymond Reid at the highest level.

“He played a more significant role in relation to the other defendants and was responsible for paying for fuel for the generator which provided heat and light in the warehouse.”

Reid has previous convictions dating back to 1968 and was sentenced in 2005 at The Hague, in the Netherlands, to eight years in prison for transporting and importing a commercial quantity of amphetamines to an international destination, for which he was released in August 2008.

Mitigating for Reid, Christopher Gillespie said: “He accepts that he has brought this on himself - the fact is he is now approaching his sixties and has already served one long sentence.

“Going back to prison will not be easy for him.”

All five members of the gang pleaded guilty to offences of conspiracy to produce cannabis and were given custodial sentences.

Glencross was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment and Schwartz received 30 months. Morrison was jailed for 27 months and Robinson was jailed for 16 months.

All five had previous convictions for drugs offences; most recently Morrison was convicted in 2009 and Glencross was released from prison in 2009.

Commenting on the case Det Insp Wendy Clay said: “The sentencing is the result of a long and complex enquiry by the Serious Crime Investigation Team and reflects the many hours of detailed work put in by members of the team.

“Not only have five active criminals been brought to justice and their assets seized but there will be a reduction in the street availability of drugs and a reduction in crime committed by drug users to fund their drug habits.”

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter