Man who ran cannabis factory worth up to £100,000 in rural home jailed

Darren Watts
Darren Watts
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A man who set up a large scale cannabis factory in his home has been jailed for more than two years.

Darren Watts (36) set up the factory in the rural home he was renting last year.

Cannabis found in the factory

Cannabis found in the factory

The factory was set up in six rooms in the house, with more than 120 plants growing.

When it was uncovered, police said the plants could give a yield of £104,000.

Today (Thursday) he was jailed for two years and eight months after pleading guilty to production of cannabis and abstracting electricity.

The court was told the factory was set up at Fenton Fields Farm, Warboys in August last year.

Cannabis found in the factory

Cannabis found in the factory

Andrea Lock, prosecuting, told the court: “The building was set back from the roads, and you have to approach it on a track. When officers approached the building, there was a strong smell of cannabis, even on the track.

“There were six separate rooms set up for the production of cannabis, with the walls insulated, lighting, ventilation and hydration systems.

“There were 124 plants in total, all on the cusp of producing a crop.

“The electricity meter had also been bypassed in a sophisticated way.

Cannabis found in the factory

Cannabis found in the factory

“The plants were valued by a drugs officer, who said the yield could be worth between £34,000 and £104,000. He said in his view it would be towards the higher end of the scale.”

The court was also told cannabis already cultivated worth between £700 and £1150 was also found at the property.

Johan Grefstad, defending, told the court Watts had fallen into the wrong crowd, and owed them £42,000 - which was the reason the factory had been set up.

He said: “It is accepted he took on a significant role.

“He was coerced into doing it due to money he owed after getting involved in the wrong crowd.

“He made full admissions, and has no previous convictions.”

However, Judge David Farrell, sentencing, described the factory as a significant, professional operation, and sentenced Watts, who now lives at Farnes Avenue, Wickford, Essex, to two years and eight months in prison.

He said: “It is clear between August and October last year you were cultivating cannabis on a significant scale.

“You were no simply a gardener - you knew you were more than that, and you knew how much it (the factory) was likely to raise.”