Ex-Marine jailed for drug factory

A man has been jailed for three years after a sophisticated cannabis factory was found on his farm near the Shropshire border during an early morning police raid.

A man has been jailed for three years after a sophisticated cannabis factory was found on his farm near the Shropshire border during an early morning police raid.

Armed police raided Acar Farm in Corwen, home of former Marine David Duffell, and found nearly 500 cannabis plants growing in a hydroponics system, as well as an illegal weapon, Mold Crown Court has heard.

Duffell, 37, who was said to have been taking large amounts of cannabis for a back injury following an accident which killed his friend, was yesterday jailed for three years.

He admitted cultivating cannabis, possessing cannabis with intent to supply, and possessing the prohibited weapon, a nine-millimetre semi-automatic carbine pistol.

Co-defendant Brinley Morgan, of Old Chester Road in Birkenhead, who is a former Marine who runs martial arts and survival courses for police and the US military, was jailed for a year for possessing the weapon.

The court heard that Morgan had brought the weapon to the farm where he ran some of his courses many years ago.

A third defendant, farm worker Craig Woodworth, 23, also of Acar Farm, admitted cultivating cannabis on the basis that his employer, Duffell, had instructed him to feed and water the plants.

Woodworth was given a six-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, with supervision and 200 hours unpaid work.

The court heard how police raided the farm at about 6am on March 29 last year and found 498 cannabis plants in a hydroponics system with automatic feeding, lighting and watering. They also found the weapon. The potential street value was about £1,000 and cannabis leaves found from a previous crop was estimated to have a street value of £2,400.

Kim Halsall, for Duffell, said that the system had been set up years previously with the intention of growing cannabis for pain relief, but it came to nothing.

He had become addicted to it after using between £200 and £300 a week's worth as a pain relief for severe back pain. It followed an accident which left him bedridden for 12 months and severely depressed. No actual commercial supply had taken place by the time of his arrest, she said.

David Williams, for Morgan, said that his client was a man of outstanding personal qualities.

By Antonia Merola

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