A pensioner was among a three cannabis growers caught running a £720,000 cannabis farm inside an agricultural greenhouse.
Michael Hill, 74, Keith Fieldwick, 54, and Thomas O’Brien, 56, were caught surrounded by 601 cannabis plants in a polytunnel greenhouse.
A property, near Bexhill, West Sussex, was surrounded by grounds that homed 'huge polytunnels' that were filled with cannabis and growing equipment.
Prosecutor Gareth Burrows said: “Within the kitchen there were two large piles of what appeared to be freshly cut cannabis.
Defending Hill, Jonathan Ray said: “Mr O’Brien is industrious and this is totally out of character - he is a caring family man.”
Jay Shah, defending Fieldwick, argued the father played a “limited” role in the factory, rather than a “leading” role.
'That was a lie'
Cannabis plant found growing inside a polytunnel in West Sussex. Image: Matthew Newby/SWNS
Sentencing the three men at Lewes Crown Court, Recorder Stephen Lennard described the enterprise as a “very significant cannabis growing operation”.
He said: “Mr O’Brien and Mr Fieldwick you tried to persuade the police you knew nothing of this operation before arriving at the property on October 2, 2014 - that was a lie.”
“You are all intelligent men, you would have all known the harm these drugs were doing to the community.”
Hill, from Burwash, was given a 22-week prison sentence, suspended for 18 months.
While Fieldwick, from Hooe, was jailed for four-and-a-half years and O’Brien, of Burwash, was jailed for three years.