Cannabis drug farmer jailed
A DRUG farmer caught managing two cannabis factories has been jailed for more than four years.
Christoper Staples (29), of Ploverley, Werrington, Peterborough, was running the factories, which contained drugs worth £26,000, at houses in Chatteris and Wisbech.
Staples, who pleaded guilty to two counts of producing cannabis and one count of fraud, was jailed for four-and-a-half years at Peterborough Crown Court on Thursday.
Kristopher White (26), of Croyland Road, Walton, Peterborough, who was working as a gardener at the Chatteris factory, was jailed for 18 months at the hearing after pleading guilty to one count of producing cannabis.
But Staples’ former partner, Emma Morley (28), of Copsewood, Werrington, Peterborough, avoided a jail term after she told the court her young son needed constant care as he had a medical problem.
She was given a two-year conditional discharge after admit- ting fraud and allowing the use of premises for the production of cannabis.
Edward Renvoize, prosecuting, said: “On August 13, 2010 the police helicopter was flying over Chatteris using the infrared cameras. Operators spotted a property on The Elms with higher heat radiation than other properties.
“When police executed a warrant in September they found White and Staples present. There were a total of 47 plants, with a value of £18,000.”
Police then visited a house in Murrow Bank, Wisbech, where Staples was living at the time. When they arrived they found Morley and a locked room. She said she did not know what was in the room.
But when officers entered it they found 22 cannabis plants, worth a total of £8,700.
The court also heard Morley had applied for single person council tax discount, when she was living with Staples.
Meanwhile, Staples made a successful application for a mortgage worth £85,000 using false information, including false bank statements, which would not have been successful if the correct information had been given.
Morley was given the chance to address the court, where she told Judge Sean Enright that her son, born in 2009, had a medical condition which meant his digestive system could not break down protein and he was on a special diet to ensure he was not taken ill.
Claire Matthews, defending Staples, who is the boy’s father, said he had now separated from Morley but the pair worked hard together to care for the child.
Roy James, defending White, said: “He was only involved in one factory and he played a much lesser role than Staples.”
Jailed: Christopher Staples who ran two cannabis factories.