Growing cannabis in a large-scale factory in a nuclear bunker has not paid off for three men caught at the site.
The trio were sentenced at Salisbury Crown Court today. Martin Fillery, 45, of Pedwell Hill, Ashcott, Bridgwater, was sentenced to eight years for conspiracy to produce class B drugs, three years for abstracting electricity and three years for money laundering. The sentences run concurrently.
Plamen Nguyen, 27, of Bartholomews Square, Horfield, Bristol, and Ross Winter, 30, of Maytree Avenue, Bristol, were sentenced to five years each for conspiracy to produce class B drugs and two years for abstracting electricity, also to run concurrently.
On February 22, officers on a midnight raid on the Chilmark emergency bunker – a former underground nuclear bunker constructed in the 80s to house local government in the event of a nuclear attack during the height of the Cold War.
The bunker is still intact and the nuclear blast doors were still in place, making the site almost completely impenetrable. Having gathered intelligence on the site, officers intercepted the three men as they left, and they were detained.
Keys were found in their possession to gain entry to the bunker where police found more than 4,000 cannabis plants capable of producing £2 million–worth of drugs a year.
The men had bypassed mains electricity, illegally abstracting about £650,000 worth of electricity.
Detective Inspector Simon Pope said: “Not only have these men been brought to justice, but we have prevented an enormous amount of cannabis from getting into the hands of vulnerable drug users.”