A man from Knaresborough has been jailed for his part in an £80,000 cannabis growing operation in Ripon.
David Peter Guest, aged 45, of High Bond End, Knaresborough, was sentenced to two-and-a-half years’ imprisonment at York Crown Court today (Monday 10 June 2013) after being found guilty of producing cannabis.
Guest and four other men, who pleaded guilty to the offence at an earlier hearing, grew 11.2kg of the drug in a detached garage at Lock House on Boroughbridge Road, Ripon.
James Cook, aged 31, of Yeadon, Leeds, was jailed for nine months for his part in the operation.
Ivan Bellwood, 46, and Peter Leek, 37, both of Leeds, were both jailed for six months’ and Grant Bilton, 22, also of Leeds received a suspended prison sentence.
Officers from North Yorkshire Police discovered the large and sophisticated skunk cannabis growing operation while conducting a search warrant at the rented property on 9 February 2011.
Cook, Bellwood, Leek and Bilton were found in the garage during the police raid and had just finished harvesting the plants which had been growing under high intensity lights.
The potential street value of the skunk was £80,000.
PC Matt Scott, of Ripon police, said:
This was a substantial and sophisticated cannabis growing operation that stood to earn the men tens of thousands of pounds.
A lot of time and effort had gone into the construction of the cannabis grow within the garage and they had also bypassed the electricity supply.
The convictions in this case send out a clear message to all those involved in the large scale production of cannabis that you are likely to face prison if you are caught.
This was one of a number of cannabis growing operations uncovered in North Yorkshire over the past few years and officers are warning landlords to be alert as many of the larger-scale operations tend to be run from properties rented for the sole purpose of cultivating plants.
Pc Scott added:
It is important that all landlords and letting agents make regular checks on their properties to ensure that northing untoward is occurring.
Signs to look out for include, a powerful smell, reclusive tenants who are very rarely seen, windows covered and curtains drawn at all times, and tenants who offer to pay cash in advance.
Any suspicious behaviour should be reported to the police, as we need information from the public to help us put a stop to organised criminals who are growing drugs in our communities.
Anyone who wants to report any suspicious activity in their area, should contact North Yorkshire Police on 101 – select option 2 – and pass information to the Force Control Room.
If you wish to remain anonymous, Crimestoppers can be contacted on 0800 555 111.