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Stupid Case File for May 13, 2006

What's that odor in the air?

Thanks to SCF readers Sue & David for another wonderful tale from across the big pond!

Courtesy of Milton Keynes Today

THE pungent smell of cannabis led police to a skunk factory capable of producing as much as £700,000 worth of the drug a year.

Two thousand plants were in various stages of growth inside Unit 4 at Second Avenue, Denbigh West, Bletchley, as well as 150 high-powered lamps, 50 cooling fans and a sophisticated irrigation system. The plants were in "rolling" production in four separate growing rooms.
Kevin Barry, prosecuting at Aylesbury Crown Court yesterday described it as an "industrial hydroponics operation".

The haul – which neighbours said could be smelled for miles – was set up by Paul Mudd. When he leased the building under the name Ian Sharman in December 2004, he said it was to start a firm manufacturing children's playground equipment.

When police raided the unit on August 15 last year at 9.45pm, four men were arrested. They were Paul Mudd, the "prime mover"; David Archer, who built the hydroponic systems; and Daniel Fabris and Nicky Howes, who bagged up the drugs. A total of 42.2 kilos of the potent weed was recovered. Its street value, in one eighth of an ounce deals, was between £178,000 and £238,000. A further £50,000 worth was found in a secret room after the Citizen alerted police a month later.

Mudd, aged 42, of Godstone, Surrey, pleaded guilty to producing, possessing and supplying a Class C drug and was jailed in October last year for a similar offence of running a cannabis factory in Kings Langley, Herts.

Archer, aged 37, of Whiestone, Exeter; Fabris, aged 36 of Walthamstow, London; Howes, aged 32, of South East London, all admitted possessing the drug with intent to supply.
Judge Seddon Cripps jailed Mudd for six-and-a-half years, Archer for two years and ordered Fabris and Howes to complete 200 hours' community service.

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