Page last updated at 10:46 GMT, Monday, 22 June 2009 11:46 UK

Death fall 'drugs farmer' jailed

Thomas McCulloch
McCulloch had denied knowing anything about the cultivation

A cannabis grower who was caught after a teenager fell to his death through the roof of his factory in Lanarkshire has been jailed for five years.

The High Court in Glasgow heard how Thomas McCulloch, 51, grew 2,000 plants with an estimated value of £600,000 at the Garrion Business Park in Wishaw.

The cultivation was discovered in September 2006 after 15-year-old Dean Cannon fell into the warehouse.

The teenager had been playing on the roof with friends before the accident.

The court heard how the cannabis farm was discovered when paramedics arrived to treat Dean Cannon - a fourth-year pupil at Clyde Valley High School in Motherwell - at the factory in Wishaw.

Police also found equipment which could have produced up to six crops a year - with a total estimated street value of £3.6m.

You knowingly allowed your premises to be used for cultivation on a grand scale
Judge John Beckett QC

As well as insulation, a full two-storey self-contained timber building had been constructed within the factory to prevent heat being noticed by infra-red detection on police helicopters.

During McCulloch's trial, police had said the factory showed "expertise of the highest level" and had been one of the "largest cannabis cultivations in Strathclyde, if not the largest".

At the time of the discovery McCulloch, of Greenlaw Avenue, Wishaw, was in Ireland.

He later denied any involvement and claimed that he rented the premises as a base for a mobile car valet business.

McCulloch also claimed to have sub-let the premises to two men in March 2006 before giving up the building months later.

'Sophisticated operation'

He denied ever seeing plants, equipment or noticing any suspicious smells.

McCulloch was found guilty of acting with another in being concerned in the production of cannabis between December 2005 and September 2006.

Another charge - of being concerned in the supply of cannabis - was found not proven.

Judge John Beckett QC told the 51-year-old he had been involved in an "extremely large and sophisticated drugs operation".

He added: "You knowingly allowed your premises to be used for cultivation on a grand scale."

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