Men jailed over cannabis factory

TWO men caught when police smashed a cannabis-growing operation in Uddingston and Bothwell have each been jailed for two years.

Hamilton Sheriff Court heard that three flats were raided just two weeks before 150 cannabis plants were due to be harvested.

And there was a dramatic end to the police operation as one of the gang fled on to the roof. He was arrested only after a three-hour stand-off which caused chaos in Uddingston.

Two men from Liverpool appeared at Hamilton Sheriff Court in connection with the sophisticated drugs set-up.

David Hind (53) and Michael Gregory (22) admitted being concerned in the supply of cannabis between May 1 and July 5 last year.

Hind also admitted attempting to pervert the course of justice by smashing up his phone in a bid to destroy evidence.

Hind’s son Jonathan (22) walked free when his not guilty plea to the drug dealing charge was accepted.

Emma Anderson, prosecuting, said police started surveillance after being tipped off about ‘an organised crime group intent on setting up cannabis cultivations’ in the area.

Three properties were raided at lunchtime on July 5.

Three tents each containing 25 cannabis plants were found in a flat above a shop in Main Street, Bothwell. The tents had a reflective silver material inside to boost growth and there was other equipment used in the production of cannabis plants.

An identical set up was found in a former guesthouse in Main Street, Uddingston, while a third property, also in Uddingston, appeared to be the gang’s living quarters.

The properties had all been rented from the same letting agency at the start of May. Police experts said the cannabis plants had been growing for about 10 weeks and would have been two weeks away from harvesting.

Cannabis resin processed from the plants would have had a street value of more than £38,000.

Hind senior tried to escape from the former guesthouse in Uddingston when police arrived. He went on to the roof and refused to move.

He produced a mobile phone and texted continually before destroying the phone’s SIM card and dropping parts of it into a drainpipe.

During a three-hour stand-off the street was closed and shops were forced to shut.

Eventually Hind agreed to come down and a cherry picker was used to lift him.

Defence agent Diarmid Bruce said Hind senior’s role was to make ‘sporadic’ visits to the flats to make sure everything was OK.

Marco Guarino, defending Gregory, said his client became involved only after being threatened over a debt.

Sheriff Thomas Millar told the accused: “Given the value of drugs in this case custody is inevitable.

“I take account of the minor part that it’s been said you both played. Otherwise the sentence would have been a substantial number of years.”