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JAILED: Criminal caught running cannabis factory in 'secret haystack rooms' on farm

A man has been jailed after hiding a "highly sophisticated" cannabis farm behind stacks of hay bales in a barn on a farm.

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JAILED: Criminal caught running cannabis factory in 'secret haystack rooms' on farm

Mitchell Nicholls, 46, hid plants worth more than £100,000 inside a series secret rooms within the farm building in Newchurch, Burton-upon-Trent.

 

He fled to mainland Europe in July 2015 and was finally arrested at Heathrow Airport when he flew back into the country from Switzerland in November 2017.

 

He was jailed for three years and two months after pleading guilty to the production of cannabis.


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Officers seized cannabis worth an estimated £133,000 and £5,000 in cash when they raided the farm in 2015.

 

Nichols had been forensically linked through fingerprints to a highly-sophisticated hydroponic cannabis grower which had been professionally concealed in a large barn at the farm.

 

During a search of Brackenhurst Farm in Newchurch, Burton-upon-Trent, on March 26, 2015, police seized 16kg of skunk flowering cannabis.

 

Officers also found a series of secret rooms which were completely concealed by hay bales and contained hundreds of cannabis plants.

It is estimated the annual street value of the cannabis would have been in excess of £400,000, Staffordshire Police said.

 

Two other men were jailed in January 2017 in connection with the offence.

 

 

DI Lesley Fowler, of Staffordshire Police’s Major and Organised Crime team, said: “I am pleased with today’s sentencing.

 

"The arrest and subsequent conviction of Nicholls are the result of a thorough and meticulous investigation. We are determined to rid our communities of drugs and those intent on their production."

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