Members of £25 million cannabis ring jailed for combined 92 years

Fourteen imprisoned for multi-million pound conspiracy to produce cannabis

The conspiracy produced cannabis worth more than £25 million

Friday, July 28, 2017

Fourteen people who were part of a huge cannabis ring in south-east England have been jailed for a combined total of 92 years.

The gang, which was spread across Kent and Norfolk, cultivated a total of 16,428 plants, with an estimated street value of £26 million.

The group as busted in a series of raids between 2013 and 2015, after officers raided a series of ramshackle growing facilities in industrial parks in Rochester, North Walsham and Sittingbourne, which had been set up in an almost identical manner.

The cannabis was grown in two-story wooden sheds inside industrial units, which had been leased to the group using false details. The group powered the growing units by tampering with the electricity supply, causing financial losses totalling thousands of pounds for the surrounding premises. 

The investigation had begun after police found the first site on Rochester High Street in 2013, having been called to a burglary. 

They went on to discover further locations in three further industrial estates: Gravesend's Canal Basin, Laundry Loke in North Walsham and Staplehurst Lodge in Sittingbourne.

The men have now been sentenced after a four-day hearing at the Old Bailey, and the terms varied between two-and-a-half and nine years.

A fifteenth member of the gang, Alan Marquiss, will be sentenced in September.

Speaking before the sentencing, James Derham, detective inspector of the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, said: "This was a highly organised and prolific conspiracy to produce and sell cannabis on an industrial scale.

"We estimate the annual street value of these plants was in excess of £26 million – a significant amount of money that could have been used to fund further criminal activity."