Devon

Cannabis factory men jailed in south Devon

Secret cannabis factory Image copyright Devon & Cornwall Police
Image caption Police found a total of 136 plants

Two men have been jailed after police uncovered an underground drugs factory "elaborately disguised" by stables.

Electricity was being stolen from the National Grid to help the growth of cannabis with a street value of £94,000 in south Devon, a court heard.

Police found a shipping container which had a staircase leading to a bunker.

Land owner Steven Loveridge, 38, from Torquay, was jailed for six years. Clive Plat-Lea, 52, from Paignton, was jailed for 32 months.

Image copyright Devon & Cornwall Police
Image caption A stable block was used as an "elaborate disguise", the judge said

They both pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply cannabis. A third man, Christopher Kerr, was given a suspended sentence of 16 months.

Exeter Crown Court heard Steven Loveridge built high walls and gates around his land at Shaldon, kept a guard dog on the site and warned off passers-by with signs on the gates.

As he passed sentence, the judge, Francis Gilbert QC, said "This was a highly professional commercial operation to grow cannabis... There was never any intention to keep horses or ponies in the field. It was an elaborate disguise for what was going on underneath."

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