A Long Sutton couple who jetted off to Kenya and dished out money to villagers and charities from the proceeds of their farmhouse cannabis factory have been jailed for three years.
Michael Foster (62) and Susan Cooper (63) pocketed around £400,000 during the sophisticated six-year operation – but used much of their ill-gotten money to help locals in the Kenyan village where they were regular visitors.
Described in Lincoln Crown Court as the “most unusual cannabis growing case of its type”, the couple paid for life-saving surgery, bought computers for a local eye hospital and secured schooling for poor children.
But the pair were living an incredible double life selling wholesale kilo deals of cannabis, grown at their farmhouse near Long Sutton and another site in the Norfolk village of Terrington St Clement to a local drugs baron.
Foster told police that they had started growing as a hobby and it turned into a business.
The pair were only caught when a police officer pursuing a burglar near the couple’s home in Bridge Road, Little Sutton, recognised the smell of cannabis coming from the property.
Police found 159 cannabis plants with an estimated street value of around £20,000. Two of the buildings had been converted into a growing room and drying room. Officers also recovered £20,000 in £1,000 bundles from a carrier bag.
The pair, formerly of Home House Farm, admitted four charges of producing cannabis and a single offence of possessing criminal cash between March 2004 and June 2010.