Merseyside drug gang has
been jailed following cannabis farm investigation
A Merseyside gang who used remote
farmhouses in Wales and Staffordshire to grow cannabis worth ₤1.3 million have
been jailed. The 12 strong organised crime group were sentenced during 2 days of
Court hearings, at Liverpool Crown Court.
Led by Gary Long and Peter Snape from Fazakerly in Liverpool, the gang grew
cannabis plants of such quality and in such professional conditions that a
Police drug expert described the 86kg yield as the most valuable he had ever
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.
Detectives from Titan, the North West Regional Organised Crime Unit, worked with
local forces to investigate the gang, which set up its 1st cannabis farm at a
rural property, within Aberdwr, South Wales, in 2013. The farm was dismantled by
Police and co-accused Mark Roberts from Penegoes, Machynlleth were arrested, but
Roberts came to the Police's attention again when a cannabis farm was spotted
near Machynlleth; his home Town; and links to Merseyside cannabis criminals were
Titan Officers identified a 3rd, much larger farm house being used to grow
cannabis, this time in Essington in Staffordshire. The farmhouse had been rented
in a false name since 2013 and the Police investigation established a pattern of
behaviour where the Merseyside men, working for Long and Snape, would travel to
the cannabis farms to tend to their crops, often doing a 6 hour round trip just
to spend a short period of time inside.
The gang were caught when they hurriedly cleared out dozens of plants from a
property that was due to be inspected by the local authority landlord, leaving
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.
Long, aged 30 and Snape, aged 29, who ran the operation through a series of
clandestine meetings within gyms and cafes, in Liverpool, pleaded guilty and
were each jailed for 5 years and 5 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 were:-
Anthony Rimmer, 06/09/1966, from Fazakerley - 3 years, 10 months.
Warren Rimmer, 21/03/1992, from Kirkby - 3 years, 8 months.
► Michael Hardwick, 03/03/1989, from Kirkby - 3
years, 4 months.
► Joseph O'Brien, 25/01/1990, from Fazakerley -
3 years, 4 months.
James Thomas Marsh, 11/11/1988, from Fazakerley - 3 years, 2 months.
Gavin Michael Laffey, 24/04/1978, from Anfield - 3 years.
► James Foy, 04/07/1994, from Fazakerley - 2
years, 11 months.
► Mark John Roberts, 21/01/1966, from
Machynlleth - 2 years, 4 months.
► Ian Heyes, 19/05/1987, from Kirkby - 2 years,
Speaking after the court case, senior investigating officer, Det Insp 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."