Three jailed over Chailey cannabis factory conspiracy

Cannabis factory in North Chailey SUS-170303-150729001
Cannabis factory in North Chailey SUS-170303-150729001

Three people have been jailed after the discovery of a cannabis factory worth more than £2 million in North Chailey.

Between them, Terence Boyle, Suzanne Hawkins and Anthony Cooper are set to serve a total of 16 years in prison for their involvement in the drugs operation.

Suzanne Hawkins SUS-170303-150714001

Suzanne Hawkins SUS-170303-150714001

Police say the factory was uncovered at the isolated farm in East Grinstead Road, North Chailey on February 26, 2014, where an outbuilding had been specially adapted to grow the plants.

Officers seized more than 1,700 cannabis plants in various stages of growth, which the court heard could have been worth up to £2.136 million.

Pensioner Terence Boyle, 73 and his partner Suzanne Hawkins, 51 were arrested at the farm on the day, Sussex Police say.

Three other people were also arrested at the time. Two of those arrested – an 19-year-old woman and a 42-year-old man – were later released without charge.

Terence Boyle SUS-170303-150703001

Terence Boyle SUS-170303-150703001

Boyle and Hawkins’ son Jesse Boyle was also arrested.

Jesse Boyle and his parents were charged in May 2015 with conspiracy to supply a controlled class B drug.

During the course of the investigation, officers discovered another man with links to the farm, Anthony Cooper. The 47-year-old was arrested in London and also charged in May 2015 with conspiracy to supply and money laundering.

All four stood trial at Lewes Crown Court on January 23 this year. Cooper pleaded guilty on the first day of the trial to the charge but the case continued for the other three.

Jesse Boyle was found not guilty after a three and a half week trial, however Terence Boyle and Suzanne Hawkins were both found guilty, say police.

Boyle, Hawkins and Cooper have all appeared again at Lewes Crown Court and have been sentenced. Boyle and Hawkins were each given four years. Cooper was given a total of six years – four for conspiracy and two for money laundering.

Investigating officer detective constable Jim Austin said it had “been a long and complex investigation”.

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