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Titan are welcoming the sentence of a man to nine years imprisonment for conspiracy to grow cannabis at Liverpool Crown Court yesterday, Tuesday 15 May.

49-year-old Gary Rimmer of Upton Rocks Avenue in Widnes was the last defendant of an operation in which 12 people were previously sentenced in November last year to a total of 39 years imprisonment.

He was arrested and charged with conspiracy to produce cannabis following his arrest by Titan and Cheshire Constabulary. Rimmer was found to be the head of the organised crime group, which was involved in a large-scale conspiracy to produce cannabis across the UK.

The gang used remote farmhouses in Wales and Staffordshire to grow cannabis worth £1.3 million. When police raided the homes of some of the defendants after uncovering the farms they found evidence of a lifestyle bought with drug money. Expensive cars, watches and designer clothing were found along with £30,000 in cash.

In a serious of coordinated raids by Titan and officers from Merseyside, Cheshire, Staffordshire and Dyfed Powys police forces, 13 people were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to cultivate cannabis and money laundering.

Gary Long, aged 30, and Peter Snape, aged 29, who ran the operation through a series of clandestine meetings in gyms and cafes in Liverpool, pleaded guilty and were each jailed for five years and five months.

Paul Ward, aged 36 from Walton, who used his electrician skills to repair the illegally diverted electricity supply in one of the cannabis farms in Wales, was jailed for 14 months.

The other men sentenced last year were:

James Anthony Rimmer b.06/09/1966 3 Edgemoor Court, Fazakerley – 3 years, 10 months

Warren Rimmer b.21/03/1992 17 Morston Avenue, Kirkby – 3 years, 8 months

Michael Hardwick 03/03/1989 18a Wervin Road, Kirkby – 3 years, 4 months

Joseph O’Brien b. 25/01/1990 24 Drake Way, Fazakerley – 3 years, 4 months

James Foy b.04/07/1994 14 Formosa Way, Fazakerley – 2 years, 11 months

Gavin Michael Laffey b. 24/04/1978 3 Imrie Street, Anfield – 3 years

James Thomas Marsh b.11/11/1988 327 Longmoor Lane, Fazakerley – 3 years, 2 months

Mark John Roberts 21/01/1966 15, Pencaemawr, Penegoes, Machynlleth – 2 years, 4 months

Ian Heyes 19/05/1987 4 Appleton Road, Kirkby – 2 years, 4 months

Speaking after the original court case, senior investigating officer, Detective Inspector Nick Hughes from Titan said:

“These substantial jail sentences should serve as a warning to people about the consequences of becoming involved in organised crime.

“The cannabis this gang were growing was lining their pockets, enabling them to live comfortable lifestyles whilst flooding their communities with drugs.

“It was a sophisticated set up capable of producing far more crops in a year than most other cannabis farms we’ve ever seen.

“They thought they could avoid detection by setting up in isolated buildings in rural areas but our work with local forces shows that they is no place for organised crime groups to hide.

“Criminals involved in the cultivation of cannabis are often involved in other serious organised crime which brings significant harm to the very communities they are from.

“Every plant the police seize represents money being taken from the pockets of criminals and I’d encourage the public to keep telling us where these farms are so we can take action.”