Men admit roles in using houses in Rugby as cannabis factories

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Three men have admitted their roles in operations to use houses in Rugby and Coventry as cannabis factories.

Stephen Cleaver, Jasveer Singh and Anthony Harte had all pleaded not guilty at Warwick Crown Court to a charge of conspiring to supply cannabis.

But on the third day of their trial Judge Peter Carr agreed to an application by prosecutor Philip Bradley to add three alternative charges to the indictment.

Cleaver, 43, of Railway Terrace, Rugby, then pleaded guilty to cultivating cannabis at his flat in June 2012.

Singh, 37, of Bawnmore Road, Bilton, Rugby, and Harte, 40, of Mile Lane, Coventry, pleaded guilty to separate charges of permitting premises to be used for the cultivation of cannabis.

Singh had allowed a house he owned in William Street, Rugby, to be used as a cannabis factory in May and June 2012 – and he entered his plea on the basis that he was not aware what was going on until he visited the address on May 24.

Harte allowed a house he had rented in Gunton Avenue, Coventry, to be used for the same purpose between July 2011 and June the following year.

Prosecutor Philip Bradley had told the jury that Cleaver’s rented flat over a shop in Railway Terrace, Rugby, was raided by the police on 26 June 2012.

In the loft they found 21 healthy cannabis plants with an estimated yield of 945 grams worth £9,450 in street deals – and a potential for three such harvests a year.

Singh owned a house in William Street, Rugby, and had been seen to visit it in May 2012 while John Edgar, 44, who has pleaded guilty conspiring to supply cannabis, was living there.

Cleaver was also seen at the property in June, but said he had gone there to steal cannabis, rather than being involved in its cultivation at the address.

When that house was raided by the police, using a key they had taken from Cleaver at Railway Terrace, there were 27 plants being grown in three rooms, with an estimated yield worth around £30,000.

Singh showed the police a tenancy agreement showing he had rented the house to a man called Dean Anderson, and he denied knowing cannabis was being grown there.

But Mr Bradley pointed out that it would have been ‘inconceivable’ for him not to have been aware of what was going on when he visited the address.

A house in Gunton Avenue, Coventry, was rented by someone calling himself Alfie Quaker, who was in fact Harte.

The police had seen bags being removed from the house by Edgar and another man, and when it was raided they found 55 cannabis plants capable of producing a yield worth £35,000.

After the three men had entered their pleas to the new charges, Mr Bradley said he would offer no evidence against them on the original conspiracy allegation, and Judge Carr discharged the jury from returning verdicts on that charge.

The case was adjourned for pre-sentence reports to be prepared; and Singh and Harte were granted bail, but Cleaver, who is also facing a burglary charge, was remanded in custody.