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Men in court on cannabis charge

PUBLISHED: 08:33 23 May 2002 | UPDATED: 11:58 03 March 2010

INCREASED humidity and "certain smells" coming from a unit on an industrial estate at Framlingham led to the discovery of hundreds of cannabis plants, a court has heard.

INCREASED humidity and "certain smells" coming from a unit on an industrial estate at Framlingham led to the discovery of hundreds of cannabis plants, a court has heard.

Mark Humphreys, 36, and Vincent Kidney, 39, both of College Road, Framlingham, pleaded guilty at Lowestoft magistrates court to a charge of producing cannabis plants between December last year and April 11 this year.

They are arguing the crop was destined for their own personal use.

Magistrates agreed that the case should be referred to Ipswich Crown Court, where a "Newton trial" will examine arguments from the defence and the prosecution over issues such as the intended use of the crop and the likely yield, before sentencing.

The court heard yesterday that 880 cultivated cannabis plants and a large quantity of cuttings were found following a police search of a unit on a small industrial estate at Framlingham, and a further 12 plants at the men's home address.

Michael Crimp, prosecuting, described how the attention of the occupants of neighbouring units was being drawn to the site when they noticed an increased amount of humidity and "certain smells" coming from the unit. He said police found around 2,300 "plants" there, 880 of which were cultivated, and the rest cuttings.

The court heard that £23,000 had been invested in setting up the unit, which contained hydroponics and artificial lighting and that in interview Humphreys estimated the expected yield at around 10kg to 15kg.

But Andrew Thompson, defending, argued the cuttings could not be regarded as plants, and said there were other factors, such as that the female plant produced the crop, which would affect the amount of useable material to come from the plants.

He added that the Home Secretary himself was supporting a proposal to reduce cannabis from a category B to category C drug. "It would be wrong to apply the old standards," he argued.

He added that their guilty pleas had been entered at the earliest possible opportunity.


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