Rushden cannabis factory duo caught in raid

Andrew Burgess and Stephen Collett
Andrew Burgess and Stephen Collett
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Two men who were caught red-handed as they tried to dismantle a cannabis factory in an industrial estate in Rushden have been jailed.

Stephen Collett, 37, from Hill Street in Raunds, and Andrew Burgess, 37, from Oakley Road in Rushden, appeared at Northampton Crown Court last Thursday where they received three and two-year sentences respectively for their parts in the plot.

Stephen Collett

Stephen Collett

The court was told that Collett had rented an industrial unit at Sanders Lodge in 2011 which he converted into a cannabis factory using lights, fans and large tents.

However, the landlord received a tip-off that the unit was being used to grow drugs and contacted the police.

When officers raided the unit, they found Collett and Burgess dismantling the factory.

About 187 plants were found in the unit and another 196 at Burgess’ garage.

Andrew Burgess

Andrew Burgess

Another accomplice was arrested at the scene and had already been jailed for 15 months after he admitted playing a lesser role.

In mitigation, Collett said he had been forced to grow the plants after receiving threats.

Burgess admitted to helping Collett hide the plants at his home, but said they had only been there for a matter of hours.

The seized cannabis had a street value of about £28,500, the court was told.

Both men had pleaded guilty to producing cannabis.