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Man behind Cheveley cannabis factory escapes jail term

Cheveley cannabis (10997618)
Cheveley cannabis (10997618)

A man who grew cannabis worth tens of thousands of pounds in his home just outside Newmarket has escaped a jail term.

Police stumbled upon 36-year-old Marc Andrews' Cheveley cannabis factory when officers were called to his High Street home on March 26 following concerns about his wellbeing.

When Cambridgeshire Police arrived, they saw Andrews in his front garden attempting to start a chainsaw.

When he saw police he went back into his house but was called back outside by officers, leaving the chainsaw indoors.

Officers noticed Andrews was ‘highly intoxicated’ or under the influence of drugs. He struggled to lock his front door and was keen for officers not to enter his house, Cambridge Crown Court heard.

He told police he was ‘worried about his baby’. Officers entered the house to check if there was anyone inside, but there wasn’t.

While checking upstairs, police discovered two cannabis tents with ventilation and home wiring systems.

Cheveley cannabis (10997624)
Cheveley cannabis (10997624)

More than 35 cannabis plants in various stages of growth, together with the growing equipment, were seized.

The plants were examined and found to have a street value of up to £30,000, if all were to reach maturity.

On being arrested on suspicion of producing a Class B drug, Andrews told officers he had previously been to court for the same charge and ‘would do it again’.

As he was escorted to a marked police van, Andrews accused his neighbour of calling the police and said ‘I have smashed up their house tonight too’.

Officers then saw numerous damaged and smashed items in his neighbour’s driveway, which appeared to have been thrown from the defendant’s open upstairs window.

Cannabis in Cheveley (10997621)
Cannabis in Cheveley (10997621)

Andrews was then also arrested on suspicion of causing criminal damage.

In police interview, he said cannabis helped him cope with his mental health. He admitted growing cannabis but said he had no intention of ever selling it on.

Andrews told officers he personally smoked all the cannabis he grew – with his use amounting to about an ounce and a half a week.

He also admitted the criminal damage, adding that he had drunk eight pints of cider and thrown the items out of his window ‘in the heat of the moment’.

Andrews apologised for his behaviour and vowed to fix his neighbour’s smashed window.

In a previous hearing at Cambridge Magistrates’ Court, Andrews admitted producing a Class B drug and criminal damage.

His case was committed to Cambridge Crown Court for sentence today where he was handed four months in prison, suspended for 12 months.