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Cannabis found growing in former Normanton town council offices

POLICE discovered hundreds of cannabis plants growing in the former offices of a town council after the smell of the drug grew so strong in the vicinity.

Leeds Crown Court heard yesterday a police community support officer was the first to notice the distinctive cannabis buds marijuana weed grassaroma in the Queen Street area of Normanton, near Wakefield.

Eventually the source was confirmed as the former offices of Normanton Town Council after one police officer opened the letter box.

Inside they found 661 cannabis plants growing in various rooms with sophisticated hydroponic equipment which, if all had grown to maturity, could have yielded cannabis worth £343,000 to £377,000, said Mehran Nassiri prosecuting.

Before the court was Liam Birdsall-Saunders who accepted he was being paid £250 a week to act as a security guard at the premises. His counsel, Derek Duffy, said Birdsall-Saunders was employed to make sure no one entered who should not. Although he was aware of the cannabis he had nothing to do with the growing side of the plants.

He said his client had admitted his limited involvement although another man charged with him had the case against him dropped by the prosecution.

Birdsall-Saunders, 20, of Vicarage Terrace, Kirkstall, Leeds, admitted being concerned in the production of cannabis and was sentenced to 51 weeks in prison suspended for two years with 300 hours unpaid work for the community.

Recorder Colin Burn told him he had come as close as he could have done to being sent to prison immediately, but he had taken into account that his fingerprints were not found in the growing rooms and “the rather inexplicable circumstances” of his co-accused not being prosecuted further.

He also appreciated Birdsall-Saunders would not have seen much if any of the proceeds of the cannabis factory. “You were in exactly the same position as a lot of people who get pulled in to look after in one way or another cannabis farms for relatively small amounts of money.”

Mr Nassiri told the court the offices were sold to a businessman who planned to develop the site for housing but had rented the property out in the meantime to two German brothers who could not be traced.Olwen Dudgeon

POLICE discovered hundreds of cannabis plants growing in the former offices of a town council after the smell of the drug grew so strong in the vicinity.

Leeds Crown Court heard yesterday a police community support officer was the first to notice the distinctive aroma in the Queen Street area of Normanton, near Wakefield.

Eventually the source was confirmed as the former offices of Normanton Town Council after one police officer opened the letter box.

Inside they found 661 cannabis plants growing in various rooms with sophisticated hydroponic equipment which, if all had grown to maturity, could have yielded cannabis worth £343,000 to £377,000, said Mehran Nassiri prosecuting.

Before the court was Liam Birdsall-Saunders who accepted he was being paid £250 a week to act as a security guard at the premises. His counsel, Derek Duffy, said Birdsall-Saunders was employed to make sure no one entered who should not. Although he was aware of the cannabis he had nothing to do with the growing side of the plants.

He said his client had admitted his limited involvement although another man charged with him had the case against him dropped by the prosecution.

Birdsall-Saunders, 20, of Vicarage Terrace, Kirkstall, Leeds, admitted being concerned in the production of cannabis and was sentenced to 51 weeks in prison suspended for two years with 300 hours unpaid work for the community.

Recorder Colin Burn told him he had come as close as he could have done to being sent to prison immediately, but he had taken into account that his fingerprints were not found in the growing rooms and “the rather inexplicable circumstances” of his co-accused not being prosecuted further.

He also appreciated Birdsall-Saunders would not have seen much if any of the proceeds of the cannabis factory. “You were in exactly the same position as a lot of people who get pulled in to look after in one way or another cannabis farms for relatively small amounts of money.”

Mr Nassiri told the court the offices were sold to a businessman who planned to develop the site for housing but had rented the property out in the meantime to two German brothers who could not be traced.

By Olwen Dudgeon
Source: http://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/news/Cannabis-found-growing-in-former.5681243.jp

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