A SHIRLEY man has been jailed after using his electrical expertise to set up a sophisticated cannabis factory at his business premises on a industrial estate.
When Mark Insall’s unit on the Coleshill Industrial Estate was raided by police they discovered plants which could have produced cannabis with a street value of more than £100,000.
Insall and his older brother Carl Insall were both at the MJI Electrical Ltd premises, and following their arrest more plants were found at Carl Insall’s home.
The brothers both pleaded guilty at Warwick Crown Court to producing cannabis, with Mark also admitting abstracting electricity by bypassing the meter to power the operation.
Mark (28) of Waterside Heights, Waterside, Shirley, was jailed for two-and-a-half years, while Carl (33) of Crossfields Road, Stechford, who also admitted producing cannabis at his home, was jailed for 22 months.
Prosecutor Graeme Simpson said that in June last year the police carried out a search of the MJI Electrical premises at unit 60 on the Coleshill Industrial Estate.
The court heard both brothers were at the unit, which had an office at the front, but the other five rooms in the single-storey building were being used for cannabis production under a number of powerful growing lights.
To power them and the other equipment, the electricity meter had been bypassed – at an estimated cost to the electric company of £9,145.
One of the rooms was being used as a drying room for the harvested plants, while the other four rooms were fitted with more than 70 growing lights and contained a total of 258 plants.
The estimated minimum yield from the plants when mature would have been around 11.9 kilos, which Mr Simpson said would have a total street value of around £107,700.
Following their arrest, their homes were searched, and nothing was found at Mark’s address.
But at Carl’s home officers found a further 16 plants, plus scales and ‘dealer bags,’ although he said that was for his own use and admitted involvement with the larger crop on the basis that he had acted as a ‘gardener’ on one occasion.
Mark told officers that when he had rented the Coleshill unit it had been a legitimate business, but after he had extended the lease business declined, and he found himself in difficulty.
He admitted the operation had been set up by him, but would not say who had assisted him, and Mr Simpson commented: “We believe there were others further up the chain.”
Delroy Henry, defending, said: “Mark Insall is in the most difficult position, but he admitted this the moment the police spoke to him about it, and was frank and candid.”
Jailing the brothers, Judge Cooke told them: “You have lived law-abiding lives until these events, but each of you has decided to involve yourself in the cultivation of significant quantities of cannabis.
“The main grow was at your former place of business, Mark Insall, where all six rooms apart from the front office were given over to the production of 258 plants.
“You Carl Insall pleaded guilty on the basis of playing a role far less heavily involved than your brother, but you lent your support to this enterprise.”