Men admit growing £88,000 of cannabis

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POLICE seized cannabis plants worth £88,500 in a drugs raid at a South Holland flat.

Lincolnshire Police executed a search warrant at Horseshoe Court in Crowland after being requested to do so by Cambridgeshire Police.

Officers found 48 “medium sized plants” in a back bedroom and located a further 150 “small plants” inside a cupboard.

There was also associated equipment for lighting, heating and watering.

Prosecutor Jim Clare told Spalding magistrates said a police expert estimated the potential value of the cannabis at £88,500.

And a forensics expert said they plants had a potential yield of 14.33kgs of the drug, of which 8.85kgs would be the strong type known as skunk.

Benjamin Ansell (23), of Battlefields Lane South, Holbeach, and Danny White (24), of Horseshoe Court, Horseshoe Yard, Crowland, pleaded guilty to producing the class B controlled drug on January 18.

The pair appeared at Spalding Magistrates’ Court on Thursday when they were bailed to Lincoln Crown Court for sentence at a later date.

Presiding magistrate John Reynolds said the bench decided their sentencing powers were insufficient to deal with the case.

Mr Clare said White told police he owed a £2,000 debt to an unnamed man and agreed to grow the cannabis to pay off the debt.

The unnamed man supplied both the 48 medium sized plants as cuttings and the 150 smaller plants.

Mr Clare said White admitted asking Ansell to help “because Ben had previously grown it”.

The prosecutor asked magistrates to consider sending the case to the crown court for sentence because of the high value of the drugs seized.

Mr Clare said sentencing guidelines suggested the offence would be dealt with by custody of between two-and-a-half to four years.

Solicitor Sacha Waxman, for White, said it was conceded the offence was serious.

Solicitor Rachel Stevens asked magistrates to retain jurisdiction and pointed out her client, Ansell, had a minor role.

She said: “He was going to get nothing out of this whatsoever. It was something in which he had a bit of knowledge. There was a social relationship between the two men and he offered the benefit of his knowledge.”