FOUR men have gone on trial after cannabis plants – said to have a potential street value of £43,000 – were found in a cottage.

Police found that Keeper’s Cottage at Cymau between Mold and Wrexham had been turned into a cannabis factory, Mold Crown Court was told.

If all the plants had come to maturity then there would have been sufficient female flowering heads to produce 40 grammes of cannabis, a class “B” drug, and that had a potential street value of more then £43,000, said prosecutor Paulinus Barnes.

The cottage owner, Andrew Jark Hemus, 41, of Forest Walk, Buckley and three other men – Kieron Molloy, 23, of Pine Grove, Chester; Craig Russell Handley, 34, of Vale Road, Whitby, Ellesmere Port; and Paul Halliday, 37, of Hoole Lane,
Chester – deny producing cannabis on December 1 last year.

The jury was told that North Wales Police executed a search warrant under The Misuse of Drugs Act at the cottage and discovered that it had been turned into a small cannabis factory.

Each of the rooms had been adapted for the growing and production of cannabis, said Mr Barnes.

The walls and ceilings had been covered in reflective, silver sheeting. There was an electrical transformer, time-switches, fans and the electrical meter had been by-passed.

Crime scenes investigators found three of Molloy’s fingerprints at the scene, one belonging to Handley and nine belonging to Halliday.

Interviewed, Molloy told police that he had been employed by Hemus to work in the garden. He had been told that he could use the kitchen to make a cup of tea but that the remainder of the house was dangerous because of the work that had been going on there.

Molloy said that he must have touched something in the kitchen which would explain his fingerprint – but he was not involved in cannabis production, he said.

Handley said that he worked as a taxi driver in Chester and he had taken a fare to the cottage.

He knew the person, whom he would not name, and he had been shown around and had used the toilet.

Handley said that he must have touched items while there. Halliday answered no questions.

Hemus told how he owned the cottage but the first he knew about the cannabis plants was when the police found them.

He previously lived at the cottage with his wife, they separated, and he had then rented the cottage out.

A man had paid £1,500 a month in rent but then in August or September of last year he stopped paying the rent.