Farmer in court over sheds of cannabis

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The Independent Online
A police raid on a farmhouse on the estate of Earl Waldegrave - the older brother of the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, William Waldegrave - foundaround 1,000 cannabis plants growing in specially adapted sheds, a court was told yesterday.

The plants varied from a few inches to up to four feet in height and were being cultivated with the aid of special lighting and watering systems. They could have yielded up to pounds 75,000-worth of cannabis, William Hart, for the prosecution, said at Bristol Crown Court.

Before the court was John Lucksted, 50, a farmer who manages a farm at Chewton Mendip, Somerset, on the estate of Lord Waldegrave.

The court heard that Mr Lucksted admitted possessing the plants but claimed they were solely for his own use. He denies a charge of possessing the plants with intent to supply to others.

Mr Hart said police raided the farm last September and found "substantial quantities" of cannabis in the house. In three sheds nearby cannabis plants were being grown.

He said that an expert at the Home Office's forensic science laboratories at Chepstow had examined one of the flowering tops of a plant and discovered it was the strongest ever examined by the laboratories.

Mr Hart said Mr Lucksted, who was arrested last October, maintained that he was a heavy smoker of cannabis, using around 3oz a week. He said the farmer claimed he was growing it all for his personal consumption and did not intend supplying to anyone else."

The case continues.