Man let crooks grow £250k cannabis plants

Police discovered almost a quarter of a million pounds of cannabis at a fish merchants premises in Fleetwood, a judge was told.

Saturday, 27th August 2016, 9:00 am

Fish deliverer, Stephen Dell, had allowed the building to be use for growing and storing cannabis because he was in debt.

Dell was engaged to the daughter of the owner of Marshall’s fish merchants and his innocent father-in-law-to-be ended up being arrested for the defendant’s crime.

Dell, 34, of Waverley Avenue, Fleetwood, pleaded guilty to being concerned in the management of the port’s B and R buildings and permitting the production of a class B drug there on December 1 last year.

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Martine Connah, prosecuting, said Dell had been a casual employee at Marshall’s delivering fish.

The buildings were leased and Dell had allowed two men to use a section of the building he had used as a gym.

The prosecutor said: “Police found 275 established plants and a significant amount of cannabis bush which had been vacuum packed.

“The total value of the drugs was £242,270.”

When interviewed Dell told police he had been about £2,000 in debt to two men he did not identify.

He did not want them going round to his parents so he allowed them to use part of the fish storage building and gave them a key.

He said he was told letting them use the building would cancel out his debt and that he had an idea of what was going on there.

He had a previous conviction from 2012 for possessing class B drugs with intent to supply them.

Gerry Coyle, defending, said that Dell’s innocent father-in-law had been arrested after the cannabis was discovered.

Dell had voluntarily gone to police and told them what he had done and his father-to-be was exonerated.

Dell was bailed for sentence on September 21 at Preston Crown Court by District Judge Joanne Hirst who said: “An operation of this scale with an extremely high value of drugs recovered should be sentenced at crown court.”