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Keighley stone firm boss grew skunk cannabis in tunnels - BBC News


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Keighley stone firm boss grew skunk cannabis in tunnels - BBC News

A stone firm boss set up a cannabis operation in World War Two air raid shelters when his legitimate business got into trouble, a court heard.

Garry Hodgkinson, 55, said he allowed people to run the large-scale growing operation in tunnels below the firm's premises in Keighley.

Access to the tunnels was made via a large safe, Bradford Crown Court heard.

Hodgkinson, of Victoria Avenue, Keighley, admitted cannabis production and was jailed for two years.

Prosecutor Michael Smith told the court skunk cannabis plants with a street value of nearly £90,000 were uncovered.

The court heard the defendant's business was suffering financially because of trading conditions and imports of cheaper stone.

During the sentencing hearing Judge Jonathan Durham Hall QC, recorder of Bradford, was shown body-cam footage recorded by a police officer going down steps concealed by the safe at M&G Stone.

Mr Smith said officers found 48 large cannabis plants in two rooms together with equipment like overhead lighting, floor fans and an air filtration system.

In another room they discovered a vacuum-packing machine and nearly 8lbs (4kg) of packed cannabis worth about £36,000.

Mr Smith said the growing plants could have yielded a further 11lbs (5kg) of cannabis with an estimated street value of £45,000.

After his arrest Hodgkinson admitted his stone business was suffering and he had been approached by people who wanted to use the hidden air-raid shelters to grow cannabis.

Defence barrister Shufqat Khan said Hodgkinson had looked into getting a licence to grow cannabis for legitimate use, but after being "shown the ropes" he had continued to grow it following a fall out with the other men.

"He had never sold any. He didn't know how to," said Mr Khan.

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