Chapel St Leonards

Cannabis farmer caught out by police drone

A cannabis farm was discovered after police carried out searches using a drone, Lincoln Crown Court was told today (Friday).

Officers carried out a raid as a result of the evidence provided by the drone and found what was described as a professional cannabis growing operation with the potential to produce more than £50,000 worth of the drug.

Lisa Hardy, prosecuting, said that two bedrooms in Mark Lovell’s property at Chapel St Leonards were converted to grow the drug with a third bedroom used for growing and for storage of equipment.

Miss Hardy said “A drone operation over the property highlighted there was a heat source from the building.

“Officers executed a search warrant. On arrival the police explained the purpose for their visit. Mr Lovell said there were plants inside the premises. He was immediately arrested.

“There were three bedrooms. Each of the bedrooms was converted for the purpose of growing cannabis.”

Miss Hardy said lighting and watering systems had been set up in the rooms and the walls had been lined. A total of 87 cannabis plants were found

“It was a professional set up. It was well established. All of the plants were healthy. If sold in one ounce deals it could have produced cannabis worth anything between £15,470 and £54,800.”

Mark Lovell, 54, of Anderby Road, Chapel St Leonards, admitted a charge of producing cannabis as a result of the police raid which took place on October 26 last year. He was jailed for three years.

The court was told that Lovell had previously been jailed for a similar offence when police found over 200 cannabis plants after they raided the same property in 2012.

Recorder Rebecca Herbert, passing sentence, told Lovell “It is clear that you had been engaged in this for some time. It was a sophisticated commercial enterprise.

“This offence is clearly aggravated by your previous conviction for exactly the same offence. It seems you did not learn your lesson from that. ”

Neil Sands, in mitigation, said that since his arrest Lovell has sought help for his drug problem.

“He has referred himself to Addaction and has been doing all within his power to put matters right.”

Mr Sands added that Lovell realised that it was inevitable that he would receive a prison sentence.