Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Drugs gang jailed - at huge publkic expense

Never mind the harm that cannabis does, Judge Challinor  what about addressing the good?

Judge Challinor, of course these "criminals" were going to make a lot of money out of this - but that is what this world seems mostly to want people to do - make money, that is why people grow cannabis commercially and that is why people brew beer commercially - and take a look at the number of hospital admissions due to booze. Yet there is no law against that.

Whether or not a person is at risk from cannabis, obviously that risk is increased when the production and supply is left outside of the law and in the hands of oft unscrupulous dealers, with no consumer protection and no tax on profits.

For every person that consumes cannabis to ill effect there are hundreds if not thousands that benefit - and those people should be allowed to grow their own for own use without the interference of the law - and people like these that grow to sell should be controlled.

Locking them up at public expense will achieve nothing

Drugs gang jailed
Staffordshire Newsletter
29 February 2012

NINE members of a Staffordshire-based drugs gang who plotted to produce millions of pounds worth of cannabis a year have been given jail terms totalling 43 years.
The gang spent an estimated £1 million on a massive cultivation plant at an isolated farm in Lincolnshire.
But they were netted after a covert police surveillance operation, with video cameras trained on the converted barns and tracking suspects to meetings in the Midlands and the North West of England.
Their ringleader was Neil Bridges from Hammerwich, described by Mr Andrew Lockhart QC, prosecuting, as "the main mover responsible for setting up the facility."
Bridges, aged 36, of Hall Lane, Hammerwich, who admitted conspiracy to produce and supply cannabis was jailed for six years by Judge Michael Challinor at Stafford crown court.
With Bridges in the dock was his "right hand man", Peter Bassett, aged 47, of Kings Bromley Lane, Rugeley, jailed for four years.
Each member of the gang had a role to play in the plot to produce the cannabis.
Tony Mobbs, aged 46, of Lichfield Road, Barton under Needwood, said to be responsible for planning the conversion of the barns and roofer Paul Hicks, aged 41, from Solihull each  got 42 months.
Builder John Stacey, 47 of Woodington Road, Sutton Coldfield, who recruited his own son got four years.
Andrew, 27, of the same address and carpenter Robert Eyland, aged 35, also from Sutton Coldfield were each given three years.
All seven of the above had admitted conspiracy to produce and conspiracy to supply cannabis.
A tenth defendant, lorry driver Barry Brearley, aged 65, of Charlemont Road, West Bromwich, who provided transport was the only member of the conspiracy to escape custody - his 12 month term was suspended for two years with 180 hours of unpaid community work. Brearley admitted only consdpiracy to produce cannabis and Judge Challinor described him as "a decent man, exploited by others."
However, the most severe sentences of eight years apiece were handed out to two gang members who denied the charges and had to be convicted by a jury.
They were Desmond Bayliss, aged 42, from Toxteth, Liverpool a "close associate" of Bridges and Iain Brown, aged 60, from Chichester, West Sussex, the owner of Angel Wells Farm in Lincolnshire and a former chairman of the British Poultry Breeders Association.
Judge Challinor told Brown; "Without landowners like you, this sort of thing cannot exist. You allowed a gang of criminals to construct this large scale factory on your land. It might have gone undetected for years."
To the rest, the judge said: "The harm cannabis does to our society cannot be underestimated . It is a mind-bending drug. Anyone who says it does not harm to smoke a bit of weed should visit a local psychiatric unit.
"This was cannabis production on an industrial scale.
"Bridges, you were at the heart of the conspiracy. You were not the only leading figure and perhaps not at the very top, but you were close."
The court heard that the set up at the farm was one of the biggest and most sophisticated ever uncovered by the police, capable of producing three crops a year, each worth £2.7 million.
One of the converted barns was so huge, it had a full-size mobile home in it for the 'workforce' tending the plants.
The work done on the barns would, at commercial rates, have cost around £1.4 million. The equipment included a huge generator costing £36,000 and hundreds of metres of cabling. The barns had their own power and water supplies.
Mr Lockhart said: "This gang plainly had an expertise of this type of activity. At the time before the factory was discovered, some members were seen to be involved in the distribution of cannabis grown elsewhere.
"From April until September 2010 when police raided the factory there were a number of days surveillance when they watched these defendants as they went about building that factory.
"Many hundreds of thousands of pounds were invested in a plant designed to reap huge benefits," said Mr Lockhart.
"Bridges was the prime mover of these conspiracies."
But Mr Balbir Singh, for Bridges, told the judge: "He only became involved in this matter as a result of pressure and intimidation short of duress. He was exploited by being tricked in the first place. There are those above this particular defendant and there are the financiers and organisers."
Bridges, a married man with three children, had no previous convictions whatsoever.
Mr Talbir Singh, for Bassett, said his client, a father of four, was not the organiser and had no input in to financing it.
Mr Harbinder Lally, for Brearley, said: "He was clearly taken in by others. He had no knowledge at the outset."
Mobbs was a builder and did not have substantial links with the conspirators, said Mr Ranjit Lallie, defending.
Mr Ronald Jaffa, defending, said Brown was in the business of farming and was not using it as a cover. He was a former chairman of the British poultry breeders and hatchers association.

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