Colchester cannabis farm the size of a football pitch was worth more than £10m a year, say police
A cannabis farmer operating a factory the size of a football pitch could have harvested drugs worth more than £10m a year, police said.
Rition Mone, 26, was growing over 6,500 cannabis plants in an industrial unit in Colchester when police discovered the operation.
Experts estimate that the 6,535 cannabis plants which were spread over 13 makeshift rooms were worth between £2.4m and £3.6m.
With several harvests planned, the operation could have yielded drugs with a street value of between £7.2m and £10.8m a year, they calculated.
Mone, of Hythe Station Road in the town, was arrested when officers from Essex Police became suspicious of the building while investigating a separate matter on 19 April last year.
They saw a man escaping from the building and stopped him before entering the building.
Mone appeared at Ipswich Crown Court on 15 February where he admitted one count of producing a controlled drug, and was sentenced to three years and two months in prison.
Ch Inp Rob Huddleston said: “This is an example of excellent police work which led to the discovery of a very significant cannabis cultivation.
“The trade in illegal drugs, no matter what class they are in, is inextricably linked to violence and the proceeds from drugs funds more criminal activity which leads to fear and misery for individuals and communities.
“Stopping the people behind the growth and sale of cannabis is vital in tackling violent crime and helps keep our community safe.”