A 51-year-old man is beginning a two and a half year prison sentence after police uncovered a cannabis factory in an industrial unit in Southend.
Steven Laidlaw of Alton Gardens admitted being concerned in the production of cannabis and was jailed at Basildon Crown Court on October 8, 2015.
Around 500 plants with an estimated street value of £250,000 were discovered when officers raided an industrial unit in Baron Court off Chandlers Way on September 23 last year.
Laidlaw, a carpenter, was arrested two days later and charged.
Officers from the local policing and tactical teams executed a search warrant at the upstairs industrial unit after receiving information from members of the public.
They discovered a main room in which 200 mature plants were growing as well as a separate nursery housing more than 200 young plants. Around 100 dead and dried out plants were also uncovered in a downstairs room.
Pc Kyle from Basildon Local Policing Team said: “The discovery of this sophisticated set up was the result of members of the public coming forward with information and the hard work of the tactical team to collate this intelligence and obtain a search warrant from the courts.
“I m pleased these drugs have been taken off the streets of Essex and that Steven Laidlaw is now facing time behind bars.