Colne farm £20,000 cannabis factory charge: man (69) in court

Burnley Crown Court.

Burnley Crown Court.

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A hard-up Colne ex-farmer who let his premises be used for a near £20,000 cannabis factory has walked free from court.

John Leslie Allison (69) of Hubbs House Farm, Southfield Lane, told police he had allowed somebody else to cultivate the drugs in his two bedrooms because he was going to get paid £2,000. He had fallen on hard times, Burnley Crown Court heard.

Prosecutor Miss Emma Kehoe said: “It was quite a sophisticated set-up, with fans, lighting and timers.”

She said cannabis worth £19,000 could potentially have been produced.

Allison admitted permitting his premises to be used for the production of cannabis on February 4th and had been committed for sentence by Pennine magistrates.

Judge Andrew Woolman sentenced him to six months in prison, suspended for two years.

Hubbs House Farm was shut down as a working farm by a closure order in February 2013.

In April this year, Allison was prosecuted for burning waste, which included plastics and tractor tyres, and which sent dark smoke across the area.

He had been given a 12 month conditional discharge by magistrates, after admitting two charges of contravening the Clean Air Act.

In 2010, Allison appeared before Burnley Crown Court and had been fined £1,700 after he was said to have run a “filthy” dairy.

That hearing was told how Allison had earlier been told by health bosses to put things right at the farm, but had insisted the premises just needed a spring clean instead of major work.

Allison, whose business was described at that time as making a loss, had admitted 14 allegations under food hygiene legislation and three concerning animal welfare. He was also ordered to pay a £1,300 contribution towards the £8,800 costs of the case.

Sentencing him for those offences, Judge Philip Butler had said that Allison had not completely refused to comply with his obligations.

He said the defendant, who then had 50 cows and ran his small farm traditionally, had provided a massively important public service and although the offences were serious, he did not deserve to go to jail.