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Crime gang behind the UK’s biggest cannabis cultivation, growing in Gravesend, Rochester, Sittingbourne and Norfolk are jailed

PUBLISHED: 10:25 28 July 2017 | UPDATED: 14:56 31 July 2017

The cannabis farm in Gravesend

The cannabis farm in Gravesend

Archant

More than 16,000 plants were uncovered by police between 2013 and 2015 at factories

The cannabis farm in GravesendThe cannabis farm in Gravesend

More than a dozen men have been sentenced for their role in a £25million cannabis farming operation which spread across Kent to become one of the biggest schemes of its kind in the country.

Nearly all of the 15-strong gang, who came from Abbey Wood, Bromley, Essex, Kent, London and Norfolk were jailed this week for a combined total of 90 years.

The first of the factories was discovered after a burglary on Rochester High Street in 2013, it was then police discovered the premises had been leased to a James Allen, of Woolwich Road in Abbey Wood.

An investigation linked the 39-year-old to the old taxi rank in Canal Basin, Gravesend, along with Michael Edward Corcoran, 51, his son Michael Jay Corcoran, 28, Stuart Sollis, 51, and 28-year-old Stefan Henderson-Clarke.

Michael Edward CorcoranMichael Edward Corcoran

Officers were called to the site after reports of a disturbance in June 2015, and when a small cannabis plant was found on the floor, police executed a search warrant at the first unit.

Inside they discovered a number of rooms created from chipboard all filled with cannabis at different stages of growth, along with a bypassed electricity meter.

Further warrants were executed across two more industrial units, one of which was found to have an illegal power supply expected to cost around £14,805 for every 30 days the factory was running.

Following the three raids, police had seized nearly 10,000 cannabis plants, with a set up capable of raising more than £16million a year.

James AllenJames Allen

A Ford Transit parked outside had links to Corcoran senior as well as Andrew Prowse, 33.

In October that year, police discovered a £3million factory with more than 1,900 plants registered to 51-year-old Bromley resident David Graham in Norfolk.

The site had further links to Corcoran, as well as Terrance Murphy, 47, Stephen Creed, 46 and Stephen Macey, 25.

An electrician told police the gang had managed to siphon £30,000 worth of electricity to run the factory.

David GrahamDavid Graham

The fourth, and final raid, came in December 2015, when Macey was spotted leaving Staplehurst Lodge Industrial Centre in Sittingbourne.

A total of 4,633 cannabis plants were found inside along with Alan Marquiss, 69, Damon Mills, 18 and Christopher Marsh, 30.

The factory, which was again linked to Corcoran, had £7.5million worth of cannabis inside.

After a four day sentencing hearing, 14 members of the gang were sentenced on Thursday.

The gang behind one of the UK’s biggest ever cannabis cultivations received the following sentences at the Old Bailey:

· James Allen, was sentenced to seven years. He had previously pleaded guilty to five counts of conspiring to produce cannabis and three counts of abstracting electricity.

· Stephen Macey, of Commercial Road in Paddock Wood, was sentenced to six years. He had previously pleaded guilty to five counts of conspiring to produce cannabis and five counts of abstracting electricity.

· Christopher Marsh, of Ethelbert Road in Margate, was sentenced to four years. He had previously pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to produce cannabis and one count of abstracting electricity.

· Damon Mills, also of Ethelbert Road, was sentenced to 18 months. He had previously pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to produce cannabis and one count of abstracting electricity.

· Michael Edward Corcoran, Mount Avenue in Yalding, was sentenced to 14 years. He was found guilty of seven counts of conspiring to produce cannabis and five counts of abstracting electricity.

· Michael Jay Corcoran, of Odo Rise in Gillingham, was sentenced to eight years. He was found guilty of four counts of conspiring to produce cannabis and four counts of abstracting electricity.

· Stefan-Alex Henderson Clarke, Walworth, was sentenced to seven and a half years. He was found guilty of four counts of conspiring to produce cannabis and four counts of abstracting electricity.

· Stuart Sollis, Camberwell, was sentenced to eight years. He was found guilty of five counts of conspiring to produce cannabis and four counts of abstracting electricity.

· David Heath, 48 Peckham, London, was sentenced to seven years. He was found guilty of three counts of conspiring to produce cannabis and three counts of abstracting electricity.

· Colin Walls, 53 and of no fixed abode, was sentenced to six years. He had previously pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to produce cannabis and was found guilty of two further counts of conspiring to produce cannabis and three counts of abstracting electricity.

· Terrance Murphy, Purfleet, Essex, was sentenced to three years. He was found guilty of one count of conspiring to produce cannabis and one count of abstracting electricity.

· Stephen Creed, Great Yarmouth, was sentenced to six years. He was found guilty following of one count of conspiring to produce cannabis and one count of abstracting electricity.

· David Graham, 51 and of Plaistow Lane in Bromley, was sentenced to nine and a half years. He had previously pleaded guilty to five counts of conspiring to produce cannabis and five counts of abstracting electricity.

· Andrew Prowse, previously of Camberwell, was sentenced to two and a half years. He pleaded guilty during proceedings to three counts of conspiring to produce cannabis.

· Alan Marquiss of Disraeli Road in Thamesmead, London, will be sentenced in September 2017. He pleaded guilty during proceedings to one count of conspiring to produce cannabis and one count of abstracting electricity.

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