Burnley snooker hall boss helped set up £136,000 cannabis farm
Updated 1:51pm Tuesday 22nd January 2013 in News
A SNOOKER hall boss, who helped set up a £136,000 cannabis farm in Burnley, sent text messages to players saying their drugs were ready.
Mohammed Quadri, 38, who ran the Top Break centre in Pheasantford Street, contacted club members to let them know the 'spliff' had arrived, Burnley Crown Court was told.
He helped his friend Ernest Hoyle to set up the cannabis farm, in a large outbuilding behind his home in Halifax Road, Briercliffe.
And when police later raided the 'sophisticated' operation in November 2011, they found 340 plants in various stages of growth, in a fully-ventilated hydroponic growing system.
Around a month later officers swooped on the club and found six snap bags containing what appeared to be £10 cannabis deals, a catalogue on hydroponic growing systems and 18 cannabis seeds in a plastic container.
Ernest Hoyle and his wife Stacey Hoyle, 49, were arrested and quizzed alongside Quadri over the drugs farm discovery and snooker club raid.
Prosecutor David Macro said that police recovered 98 cannabis saplings, 120 medium sized plants and 122 fully-grown specimens.
If all of the cannabis had matured then it would have had an estimated street value of around £136,000, he told the court.
The court heard Ernest Hoyle suffered from a number of health problems, including cardiac problems and arthritis and had died over the course of the court proceedings His wife Stacey, of Halifax Road, admitted producing cannabis and Quadri admitted aiding and abetting the production of cannabis and possession of cannabis with intent to supply.
The court heard that the role of Stacey Hoyle, who has no previous criminal convictions, was to act as 'gardener' for the operation.
David Bourne-Arton, defending Hoyle, said she had suffered a miscarriage, around that time, and had been suffering from depression, when she became involved with the farm.
She was given an 18-month prison sentence, suspended for 18 months, given six months probation service supervision and ordered to carry out 140 hours community service.
But Judge Simon Newell has delayed sentencing Quadri, after a dispute emerged regarding the extent of his drug dealing and role in establishing the drugs farm originally.
Akaal Sidhu, defending Quadri, said that his client had pleaded guilty to the aiding and abetting charge on the basis he had helped to erect plastic sheeting for the farm, after his fingerprints were found on electrical tape there.
And Mr Sidhu said he had only handed cannabis out to friends at the club after they had 'chipped in' to pay for it.
"He has five young children and he is the main wage-earner of the family and he has important responsibilities which he must face up to," he added.
But the court heard Quadri, of Devonshire Road, Burnley, told a probation officer he had helped to re-roof the shed, where the cannabis was grown, and assisted with the installation of the ventilation system found by police.
And Judge Newell said the evidence of texts like 'Top bud at snooks', sent out to a customer and found on his phone, raised concerns about the extent of his dealing.
Quadri was remanded on bail until February 28, when the issues will be resolved at a pre-sentence hearing at Preston Crown Court.