South Scotland

Passer-by sniffed out Selkirk pub cannabis farm

Queens Head Inn Image copyright Other

A man caught red-handed at a £1.66m cannabis farm was caught after a passer-by recognised the pungent smell coming from a disused Borders pub.

Bartosz Gloskowski, 23, of West Granton Road, Edinburgh, admitted growing 1,991 plants at the Queens Head Inn in Selkirk between March and October 2014.

A court heard how a woman phoned police to report the smell from the property.

Sentence was deferred at the High Court in Glasgow until 10 May and Gloskowski was remanded in custody.

The court heard how on 8 March 2014 he was stopped by customs as he drove through the Channel Tunnel with two pallets full of scales, lights, vents, fans, chemicals and trays.

The items are typically used in the cultivation of cannabis.

'Overpowering smell'

Customs seized £4,800 worth of Polish Zloty under the Proceeds of Crime Act and allowed Gloskowski and his cargo into the UK.

Advocate depute David Taylor, prosecuting, said that he had rented a flat above the disused pub in the Borders town.

Police were sent to check out the area after a woman phoned to say she had noticed the smell of cannabis coming from there for a couple of weeks and the smell was growing stronger.

She told police she believed that someone was growing cannabis plants.

Mr Taylor said: "When police arrived they could smell cannabis in the street.

"They then saw the accused open the front door of his flat and noticed an overpowering smell of cannabis from within the property."

A search of the property revealed that, by using the attic space, the flat next door could be accessed. In the second flat there was a wooden panel screwed into the floor which gave access to the disused pub.

That flat also contained 50 bags full of stripped plant stalks.

'Industrial-scale production'

When police officers entered through the hatch in the Queens Head Inn they found a large cultivation of cannabis plants.

It was clear that the electricity supply had been bypassed.

Mr Taylor added: "It would appear that virtually all of the available floor space within the Queens Head Inn had been given over to an industrial-scale production of cannabis.

"In total 1,991 cannabis plants recovered."

Gloskowski told police he rented the property for £500, but refused to answer any other questions.

His fingerprints and DNA were found on the inside of four pairs of disposable gloves and bottles of beer and water.

Police drug experts said the maximum street value of the cannabis obtained from the plants would be £1.66m.

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