We are currently trialling our new-look independent.co.uk website - please send any feedback to beta@independent.co.uk


Cannabis 'Christmas tree' grower jailed


A man who grew a large cannabis plant to look like a Christmas tree will spend the festive season behind bars after police found his home-based drug factory.

Ian Richards, 46, made the cannabis plant resemble a festive tree by growing it to 5ft tall and decorating it with brightly-coloured baubles.

Police found it along with a small number of other cannabis plants when they raided his home in Attlee Avenue, Aylesham, near Canterbury, Kent, last December.

Investigating officer Pc Darren Dennett, of Kent Police, said: "By using a 5ft tall cannabis plant as a Christmas tree, Richards showed a total disregard for the law."

A judge at Canterbury Crown Court sentenced Richards to 18 months behind bars for drugs offences on November 24, a Kent Police spokesman said today.

Pc Dennett added: "One of the bedrooms at his home had been transformed into a very sophisticated cannabis factory.

"He claimed the plants were for his own personal use but the factory clearly had the potential to produce a large quantity of cannabis.

"He is now spending his Christmas in prison, and by closing down this cannabis factory we have prevented a large quantity of Class B drugs from reaching the streets."

* Police have recovered drugs worth an estimated £1.6 million in a house raid.

Cannabis resin weighing in at 173kg, 67kg of amphetamine and 38 bags of ecstasy were found after officers executed a warrant at an address in Rochdale, Greater Manchester.

The raid was carried out in Grisedale Road, Castleton, at about 6.30pm yesterday.

A 45-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of possessing class A drugs with intent to supply and remains in police custody.