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UK: Lancing cannabis cafe pair found guilty

Worthing Today

Saturday 28 Nov 2009

TWO men who ran a cannabis cafe in Lancing have been found guilty of conspiracy to supply the drug.
In October last year, five people were charged with conspiracy to supply cannabis after a number of raids on the building in Freshbrook Road, including one where a two-tonne tractor pulled down a wall.

Michael Allday, 44, of Leconfield Road, Lancing, Lee Russell, 40, of Ethelwulf Road, Worthing, pleaded not guilty to the offence but were convicted by a jury at Kingston Crown Court after a two-week trial.

Paul Bradley, 33, of Loder Gardens, Worthing, was found not guilty.

Two other people - Wendy Edwards, 40, of Haybourn Road, Brighton, and Sebastian Flynn, 20, of Ringmer Road, Worthing - pleaded guilty on the first day of the trial

In January 2007, Sussex Police received reports that a light industrial unit had been purchased for the purpose of distributing and smoking cannabis. The premises was identified and located in Lancing, in the heart of a residential area which also contained a school.

Over a period of several months, the community became increasingly concerned about the activities of what had become known locally as the 'cannabis cafe'.

A series of street briefings with the local community were held - instigated by the police - and a number of disruption tactics employed, including a series of raids.

At the same time, an investigation was underway to establish the group of people responsible for running and profiting from the cafe. All five defendants were charged in October last year.

Detective Sergeant Jason Turner from Sussex Police said: "This result is very satisfying for all the officers that have worked on the case that has been long and protracted. A full range of police tactics were deployed to disrupt and dismantle an organised crime group distributing and profitting from the sale of cannabis.

"By shutting the cafe the local community has been allowed to return to normality and the dealing of controlled drugs removed from their doorstep."

Sentencing will take place on January 15, next year, at Kingston Crown Court and the Judge has indicated custodial sentences.

Chief Inspector James Asser said: "This is an excellent outcome for the local community as a result of a partnership formed between the local community, council and our neighbourhood policing team."




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