Lengthy jail sentences for men behind large-scale Castle Bytham cannabis farm

The farm in Castle Bytham where police found a cannabis farm with a potential annual cannabis yield worth around �2.75 million.

The farm in Castle Bytham where police found a cannabis farm with a potential annual cannabis yield worth around �2.75 million.

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JAIL sentences totalling 43 years have been handed down to members of an organised crime group who ran a major cannabis enterprise at Castle Bytham.

Eleven men, mostly from Staffordshire and the West Midlands, were sentenced at Stafford Crown Court on Tuesday.

Nine of the men had pleaded guilty to charges relating to the large-scale drugs operation, while the remaining two were convicted by jurors following a two-month trial.

Arrests were made following a five-month investigation under Operation Nemesis, run by Staffordshire Police.

Detectives uncovered a complex set-up in huge barns at the Castle Bytham farm, with a potential cannabis yield worth around £2.75 million.

As well as over 800 cannabis plants, the serious and organised crime unit of more than 40 officers and specialist staff discovered 1,600 empty buckets prepared for cultivation, plus generators, fans, lighting and ventilation equipment installed.

Det Ch Insp Jane Hewett, from Staffordshire Police, said: “There is no doubt that several of these offenders were living lavish lifestyles funded by drug crime. Significant amounts of cash were seized during the arrest operation and the Proceeds of Crime Act will be used to strip them of their assets.”