Brierley Hill man jailed after cannabis factory found behind pub

First published in Local

A BRIERLEY Hill man has been given a two-and-a-half year jail sentence for his involvement in producing cannabis in a garage at the back of a Worcestershire pub.

Police found the double garage at the back of The Steps House in Gilgal, Stourport on Severn, had been converted into a factory growing cannabis with a potential street value of £91,000, Worcester Crown Court heard.

Mark Flack, aged 32, of Dwellings View, Brierley Hill, was jailed immediately after pleading guilty to being involved in the production of the class B drug.

Kevin Fletcher, aged 54, the landlord of The Steps House, who lives on the premises, also received a 12-month sentence suspended for 18 months after he admitted being involved in the production of cannabis.

Stephen Davies said police raided the garage on April 26 last year and found two tents inside with 145 plants capable of producing 9.1 kilograms with a sophisticated growing system.

Fletcher told them he had rented the garage for a £100 a month in December 2012 to two men who had said they were going to use it for car repairs.

He later revealed he had discovered cannabis two weeks before the raid and had told them to leave but had accepted £1,000 to let them stay a little longer, Mr Davies said.

Flack was present when the factory was set up but had been working under instructions from the other man, who was not in court.

He was paid in cannabis for his own use and police found 4.6 grams worth £446 at his home.

Niall Skinner, defending Flack, said he was a hard-working family man whose partner was expecting their third child next month.

He had no explanation as to why he had got involved apart from "stupidity."

Mr Skinner said: "He did not need to get involved.

"He has never been in trouble before and it is likely he will never be in trouble again."

Abigail Nixon, defending Fletcher, said he had been in the pub trade for 20 years and had bought the lease to The Steps House.

He had put his livelihood and his home at risk because he had been stupid enough to get involved to "make a quick buck" but he had never received the £1,000.

A conviction would not automatically result in him losing his licence but it was due for renewal next year, she said.

Judge Robert Juckes, QC, said Flack had played a more significant role in the production.

He said Fletcher, as a landlord in a position of responsibility and with a degree of influence in the community, had taken the £1,000 offer to "keep his mouth shut."

Fletcher was also ordered to do 250 hours unpaid work - and both men were ordered to pay £600 costs each.

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