A MAN who played a ‘significant role’ in setting up a drugs factory, worth an estimated £67,000, in Littlehampton town centre, has been jailed for three years.
Perry Moore, of Decoy Drive, Angmering, was sentenced at Chichester Crown Court on Thursday for his role in setting up the cannabis operation, in The Arcade, last year.
The court heard that when police raided the room above the former Moore Cuts barbershop, in November, they uncovered a total of 149 cannabis plants, in various stages of maturation.
Sentencing the 22-year-old, recorder Mr Milliken-Smith, QC, said: “This was a sophisticated and robust operation conducted by people who knew what they were doing.
“You took over this premises in July, 2012. The cannabis factory was well in operation by November 6.”
He told Moore that the letting of the barbershop below was a ‘cover for a substantial operation’, with detectives estimating the drugs den was worth an estimated street value of £67,000.
Mr Milliken-Smith continued: “You barely opened which was, perhaps, an error.
“You were plainly an important part as a contractor of this premises. You were someone who was trusted to ensure that this premises remained secure.
“You had an awareness and understanding of the scale of the operation.”
Mr Milliken-Smith added: “I take the view that your position can be mitigated as you have no previous convictions and by your age.”
Mr Milliken-Smith told Moore that, although he had been given a three-year sentence, he would serve only half of this in prison, before being released on licence for the remainder of his sentence.
Upon hearing his sentence, Moore – wearing a blue and white shirt – looked up as his family in the audience gallery, waved and said: “See you later.”
Clear message sent
Speaking after the court hearing, Det Con Laura Sinden said a clear message had been sent to criminals, hoping to set up their own drugs farm.
She added: “Through investigations, Perry Moore was identified as being involved and was subsequently charged with the production of cannabis.
“On Thursday he was sentenced to three years in prison for this offence, which sends a clear message to those involved in, or thinking of getting involved in such behaviour; Sussex Police will not tolerate drugs being produced and along with the court looks to punish those responsible.”