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Five men sentenced in large scale drugs production operation

Five men, who were part of a group convicted for producing millions of pounds of cannabis across Leicestershire over two years, have been jailed.

Two men were found guilty of production of cannabis between 1 January 2018 and 19 March 2020 at a trial at Leicester Crown Court on Tuesday 18 April.

They were sentenced at the same court yesterday (Wednesday 19 April).

One of the men was sentenced to seven years in prison while the other man was sentenced to five years and six months in prison.

Three other men were sentenced, who pleaded guilty last year to the same offence.

In September 2021, five people were sentenced for the same offence after pleading guilty.

In November 2021, four more people were sentenced for the same offence after pleading guilty.

In February 2020, officers executed a warrant under the Misuse of Drugs Act at a premises in Wharf Street South, Leicester.

A subsequent search of the building was carried out which uncovered a large cannabis factory containing a substantial number of plants at different stages. The factory had been set up at a sophisticated level with all the equipment to grow the plant from seed until harvest.

Three men, who were arrested at the scene, were later charged with cannabis production. They each were given two years in prison in March 2020 after pleading guilty in court.

Following this initial warrant, the investigation continued as detectives found this factory was part of a wider network of cannabis being produced.

The investigation also discovered a lettings agency was being used to fraudulently rent out properties which were owned by unsuspecting members of the public. The homes were being rented to the defendants, who supplied false identity documents to obtain the letting, for the purposes of growing cannabis within them. A total of 13 properties in Leicestershire, other than one in Mansfield, were linked to cannabis cultivation.

After a lengthy investigation, 14 men were arrested, charged and remanded. 12 men pleaded guilty while the other two men opted to stand trial.

Officer in the case Victoria Stather, who worked on the investigation as part of East Midlands Special Operations Unit (EMSOU), said: “This was a long and complex investigation which finally ended the criminal activity of a gang who had been operating on a professional and well organised level for some time.

“The combined efforts of all those involved in this investigation, whether that was around enforcement or investigation, managed to successfully seize a combined total of over 160 kilos of cannabis with an estimated street value of over £2 million, drugs likely to be destined for the streets of Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland and into the communities where you live.

“This type of investigation represents our ongoing commitment to remove drugs from our streets and we would like to continue to encourage the public to report suspicions around drug activity to us so we can carry on working towards tackling this issue.”

Read more, here.


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