Oap, 70, Ran 400-plant Cannabis Greenhouse


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Oct 22, 2005
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United Kingdom

A PENSIONER has become one of the oldest convicted drug suppliers in the country.

George Axton, 70, was yesterday found guilty of turning his dilapidated commercial greenhouse into a cannabis plantation of more than 400 plants.

But he was acquitted of trying to hire a hitman to kill a potential prosecution witness in the case.

The jury at Winchester Crown Court took just under 13 hours to unanimously find Axton guilty of cultivating and conspiracy to supply cannabis in 2004.

Axton, of Greengate Nurseries, Blind Lane, South Gorley, near Fordingbridge, grimaced as the jury forewoman announced the first guilty verdict.

Co-accused Richard Kershaw, 29, and Gavin Harries, 30, were also unanimously convicted of cultivating the drug. Kershaw and Harries were also found guilty by majority verdicts of 10 to two of conspiracy to supply the drug in 2004.

All three men were cleared of conspiracy to supply cannabis from a crop grown at the nursery in 2003.

Judge Guy Boney QC adjourned sentencing until September and released the three on bail, but warned that jail terms were "almost inevitable".

A fourth man, David Stone, 32, mechanic, of Blind Lane, South Gorley, had admitted cultivating cannabis and possession of the Class C drug.

Kershaw, a car dealer and former professional fruit machine player, of Fernhill Lane, New Milton, and Harries, a self-employed steel erector, of Paddock Grove, Verwood, helped tend the crop.

The trial heard from detectives who raided the property in September 2004 that the harvest would have yielded cannabis worth UKP150,000.

The trial had also heard claims that Axton offered UKP35,000 to a violent former prisoner to murder Ken Hicks, who Axton believed was going to testify against him.

Jurors unanimously acquitted Axton, a man with no previous convictions, of soliciting to murder after more than 11 hours of deliberations.

Axton was also acquitted of eight firearms offences on the orders of the judge.

As well as a water bottling plant, Axton also ran a small care home for up to three young adults.