Two jailed for running cannabis factory

AN Ipswich father-of-eight and a man who tended a cannabis factory while awaiting trial for the same offence, are beginning jail terms totalling seven years.

Colin Adwent

AN Ipswich father-of-eight and a man who tended a cannabis factory while awaiting trial for the same offence, are beginning jail terms totalling seven years.

The maximum annual yield from the crop grown at the premises where Carl Allcock and Stephen Kingwell lived in Felixstowe Road, Ipswich, could have netted more than �3million a year, according to police.

However, at their Ipswich Crown Court sentencing Judge Peter Thompson accepted that with losses during cultivation the amount would have come down to a six-figure sum for each four-monthly crop rotation.

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Kingwell, 51, and Allcock, 39, admitted being concerned with producing a Class C drug at the Ipswich address, at an earlier hearing. Allcock also admitted abstracting electricity.

Kingwell pleaded guilty to another offence of producing cannabis and abstracting electricity at a property in east London.

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The court heard they were forced into the cultivation by threats from drug dealers.

Prosecutor Andrew Jackson said Kingwell was living in east London when drug squad officers raided his home in January last year.

They found 155 cannabis plants downstairs and 55 upstairs. Propagators were also found, each with the capacity to hold 100 plants. The haul came to 2,947oz, which had a potential street value of �471,520.

Kingwell was taken to Forest Gate police station where he told officers he had begun taking cannabis he grew in a cupboard for pain relief from a back injury.

He said other people had suggested he grow more plants, but he did not have the money for equipment. Kingwell was supplied the equipment and was forced to grow larger amounts of cannabis. Kingwell said he was only allowed to keep 1oz of the crop.

He was charged and the matter committed to crown court. While on bail, Kingwell moved to Felixstowe Road, Ipswich, where he became a 'gardener' at another cannabis factory.

On December 3 police raided that house. Two mature cannabis plants were discovered along with a nursery for other plants. A total of 400 immature cannabis plants and around 600 cuttings were also found. Allcock was also arrested.

According to a statement by Pc Andrew Moore, the maximum potential yield was 7,000 oz with a street value of �1.12million for a single crop.

It was stressed in court these were potential yields and not definitive values.

Neil Saunders, for Kingwell, said his client was 'spirited' away from London by drug dealers who pressured him to continue working for them.

Charles Wyatt, for Allcock, said when his client worked in Manchester the pressure of his job drove him to being a cocaine addict. In debt to dealers, they followed him to Ipswich and threatened him by putting a gun to his head.

Judge Thompson sentenced Kingwell to a total of four-and-a-half years' imprisonment for two offences of cultivating cannabis and a six-month sentence to run concurrently for abstraction of electricity.

Allcock was given two-and-a-half years in jail for producing the drug. He had repaid �640 he owed for abstracting electricity in Ipswich and received no further penalty for this offence.

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