VIDEO: Nine jailed for setting up cannabis farm near Castle Bytham

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NINE men have been jailed for a combined total of 43 years for setting up and running a cannabis farm near Castle Bytham.

Two more men received community sentences for their part in the operation.

The farm in Castle Bytham where police found a cannabis farm with a potential annual cannabis yield worth around �2.75 million.

The farm in Castle Bytham where police found a cannabis farm with a potential annual cannabis yield worth around �2.75 million.

Nine men admitted cannabis supply and production offences and two were convicted by jurors at Stafford Crown Court on Tuesday.

The men, mostly from Staffordshire and the West Midlands, were arrested following a five-month investigation.

Police uncovered a complex set-up in huge barns at the farm in September. The buildings housed 800 cannabis plants with a potential annual yield worth about £2.75m.

Officers also discovered 1,600 empty buckets prepared for drug cultivation.

Detective chief inspector Jane Hewett said: “The lengthy sentences follow a wide-ranging investigation which derailed a major cannabis growing enterprise.

“These men were part of an organised crime group, with criminal links nationwide, who set up one of the country’s biggest cannabis factory set-ups.

“The enterprise was thwarted in its early stages thanks to excellent work by officers from our serious and organised crime unit, supported by our colleagues in Lincolnshire.”

The farm’s owner Iain Brown, 60, from Chichester, was convicted of conspiracy to produce and supply cannabis and jailed for eight years.

Desmond Bayliss, 41, from Toxteth in Liverpool, was convicted of conspiracy to supply and produce cannabis and also given an eight-year prison sentence. Both had denied the charges.

Neil Bridges, 36, from Hammerwich, Burntwood, was jailed for six years after admitting conspiracy to supply and produce cannabis.

Peter Bassett ,47, from Rugeley, was jailed for four years after admitting conspiracy to supply and produce cannabis.

Tony Mobbs, 46, from Barton under Needwood, was jailed for three and a half years after admitting conspiracy to supply and produce cannabis.

Paul Hicks, 41, from Solihull, was sentenced to three and half years in prison after admitting conspiracy to supply and produce cannabis.

Robert Eyland, 35, from Minworth, near Sutton Coldfield, was given a three-year prison sentence after admitting conspiracy to supply and produce cannabis.

John Stacey, 47, from Sutton Coldfield, was jailed for four years after admitting conspiracy to supply and produce cannabis.

His son Andrew Stacey, 28, from Sutton Coldfield, was sentenced to three years after admitting conspiracy to supply and produce cannabis.

Barry Brearley, 65, from West Bromwich, was given a 12 month suspended prison sentence and a community order after admitting conspiracy to produce cannabis.

And Shane Breen, 38, from Barton under Needwood, was given a community order after admitting the production of cannabis.

Two other men were acquitted following the two-month trial.