TWO Fermanagh men were given suspended jail sentences after £54,680 cannabis was found at a house in Newtownbutler.
Former Newtownbutler resident, 56-year-old Mark Francis Sinclair, with an address at Stone Grove Gardens, Edgeware, Middlesex pleaded guilty to being concerned in producing cannabis, dishonestly using electricity and allowing his premises at 46 Ports Road, Newtownbutler to be used for the production of cannabis on August 9 2014.
His co-accused 36-year-old Colum Thomas Swift, High Grove, Lisnaskea pleaded guilty to being concerned in the production of cannabis on the same date.
Judge Paul Ramsey said the custody threshold had been passed in the case of Sinclair.
The judge said he accepted that an agreed plea had been made and that Sinclair was a “secondary party” and the principal players were still at large.
Judge Ramsey jailed Sinclair for 18 months on the charge of being concerned in producing cannabis, dishonestly using electricity at 46 Ports Road, Newtownbutler and allowing his premises at 46 Ports Road, Newtownbutler to be used in the production of cannabis and all sentences were concurrent and suspended for two years.
The Judge noted that Swift, who was a “secondary party” to a “secondary party”, would have been jailed for 18 months if he had contested matters. He had a lesser role than Sinclair in this matter.
Judge Ramsey jailed Swift for a year, suspended for two years for his part in the production of cannabis.
A Prosecutor told the court that drugs with a total street value of £54,680 were found at 46 Ports Road Newtownbutler on August 9 2014. Sinclair was the home- owner and keys were found in a safe in the house gave him access to the areas where the drugs were growing, the court heard.
And a receipt for a Ryanair flight showed that Sinclair was present in the house a few weeks before the operation.
A sum of £1,000 was recovered from a safe and police suspicion was further aroused by the fact that Sinclair, who was on benefits, was travelling to Spain and the Canaries, frequently.
The court was told that there was a proceeds of crime action in respect of both defendants.
A defence counsel for Sinclair, said his 56-year-old client lived in London and he bitterly regrets his presence before the court and was a man of previous good character who was never involved in any offence at all”.
The counsel said Sinclair was aware that his premises were being used in the production of cannabis but he did not know the nature or the degree of the operation.
The counsel for Swift said his client was a secondary party to a secondary party so he was “significantly removed”.
The 36-year-old was a father of an 11 year-old boy and had a pivotal role in his upbringing.
He had a very good education, was industrious and ran a business that employed two people and that might increase. “He is someone who is doing his best to provide for himself and his family and is gainfully employed,” he added.
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Posted: 5:10 pm December 2, 2016