Trio ran ‘amateurish’ cannabis farm – court

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Three men down on their luck decided to grow their own cannabis on a Suffolk farm in a ‘very amateurish’ operation, a court heard.

The trio raised the illegal crop inside a portable building because they were facing financial problems.

On Tuesday, Ipswich Crown Court was told that when police raided Moon Lane Farm at Finningham last September they found 145 mature cannabis plants and 29 seedlings.

Prosecutor Michael Crimp said that in the hands of professional growers the plants could have netted £100,000 worth of cannabis, but the men had only managed to produce £3,000 worth.

Roy Rampley, 49, and Trevor Cracknell, 59, both of Walsham Road, Finningham, and Mark O’Raw, 42, of Jubilee Avenue, Stowmarket, had pleaded guilty to producing cannabis at an earlier hearing.

O’Raw, also pleaded guilty to possessing cocaine for personal use.

Judge David Goodin sentenced the three to 10 months imprisonment suspended for two years. Rampley and Cracknell have to complete 180 hours’ unpaid community work and O’Raw faces 200 hours. Each were ordered to pay pay £200 prosecution costs.

Mr Crimp said that police also found a car at the farm belonging to O’Raw containing crates which had traces of cannabis.

At O’Raw’s home, officers found a quanity of cannabis and a small amount of cocaine.

In mitigation, Kevin McCarthy said that Rampley was allowed to live rent free at the farm in return for caring for the plants.

“It was a loose agreement between three men hard on their luck.”

The cannabis growing operation had been ‘very amateurish,’ he said.

Appearing for O’Raw, Joanne Eley said he had in the past been addicted to cannabis but earlier this year had taken steps to end his use of the drug, as well as cocaine.

None of the cannabis produced had been sold to other people, said Miss Eley. Cracknell, who owns the farm where the cannabis was found said the decision to produce the drug was ‘stupidity’.

He said: “I just got myself into a muddle financially and this seemed a way out of it.”