|Men sentenced for two cannabis farms - Bolton and Wigan
Richard Shackleton and Darren Valentine.
A man has been sentenced after a cannabis farm caused a fire that gutted a house in Bolton, and more than 300 plants were recovered from a cannabis farm in Wigan.
The plants at the second cannabis farm at an industrial unit in Wigan were of various ages and had an estimated street value of over £13,000.
Richard Shackleton, born 01/06/71, of Winscar Road, Hindley was convicted of production of cannabis in relation to the Bolton farm and production of cannabis and possession with intent to supply cannabis in relation to the Wigan farm.
He has today, Monday 19 October 2009, been sentenced to four years in prison at Liverpool Crown Court.
Darren Valentine, born 22/09/71, of Grundy Street, Westhoughton pleaded guilty to production of cannabis and possession with intent to supply cannabis in relation to the Wigan farm and has been sentenced to 16 months in prison.
Police were called by the fire service to an address on Townsfield Road, Westhoughton, at about 3.50am on Thursday 3 January 2008.
Once the fire was out and access gained to the premises, a number of cannabis plants were found as well as lighting equipment.
Extensive damage was caused to the house with the roof and the majority of the first floor, stairs and hallway destroyed.
The electricity consumer unit underneath the stairs was identified as being where the fire started.
Police Constable Matthew Litchfield from the Bolton drugs unit said: "The fire destroyed so much of the house that it is impossible to say how many cannabis plants were inside before the blaze.
"The damage also meant it was difficult to establish if the electricity supply had been by-passed in order to power the lighting equipment however this certainly can not be ruled out.
"The fire could have easily spread to neighbouring properties and seriously injured someone, and I cannot stress how important it is that people report any suspicions they have about properties being used as cannabis farms. The electrical equipment used is potentially lethal - your information could save someone's life."
On Thursday 14 August 2008 Shackleton and Valentine were arrested by officers in Wigan carrying out a search warrant at a unit on Hemfield Court, Makerfield Way, Ince.
When officers arrived Valentine and Shackleton were loading up a car with a clear plastic box full of cannabis bush.
Inside the unit officers found a purpose built layout of five rooms filled with cannabis plants and drugs paraphernalia. Some of the plants were over 9ft tall.