Sheffield Crown Court heard last week how gang members from Rotherham, Swinton and Mexborough were charged with offences including conspiring to produce cannabis, conspiring to acquire and convert criminal property, being the occupiers of premises used for cannabis production and possessing criminal property.
Police have now released photos of those who were jailed.
David Gordon, prosecuting, said Robert Coward, aged 39, of Telson Close, Swinton, Rotherham, was at the centre of this operation and he had recruited others into an enterprise involving cannabis farms and the laundering of thousands of pounds of proceeds.
Judge Graham Reeds QC said: “Each of the other people who pleaded guilty to conspiracy to produce cannabis did so because of Robert Coward involving them for money for growing crops of varying size.”
Robert Coward pleaded guilty to conspiring to produce cannabis between February, 2010, to February, 2018, and to conspiring to acquire and convert criminal property between April, 2010, and April, 2016.
His parents Michael Coward, aged 68, and Lynn Coward, aged 66, of Toll Bar Road, Swinton, Rotherham, both admitted conspiring to acquire and convert criminal property between April, 2010, and April, 2016, and to being the occupiers of a property, namely Lynn’s Chippy, on Main Street, where they allowed the production of cannabis in a flat.
Mr Gordon said a flat was found above Lynn’s Chippy with remnants of a cannabis grow to which Michael and Lynn Coward’s other son Thomas Coward accepted responsibility.
Thomas Coward, aged 37, of St Margaret’s Drive, Swinton, Rotherham, pleaded guilty to conspiring to produce cannabis between February, 2010, and February, 2018, after growing equipment was also found in a vehicle and to possessing criminal property after he was found with an undeclared income of £43,929.
Others who pleaded guilty to conspiring to produce cannabis included: Thomas Haigh, aged 37, of Newsam Road, Kilnhurst, Rotherham; Gareth Lee, aged 30, of Middle Avenue, Rawmarsh, Rotherham; Jamie Lee, aged 32, of Goodwin Avenue, Rawmarsh; Jake Bull, aged 31, of South Street, Rawmarsh; and Jody Sheppard, aged 40, of Providence Street, Greasborough, Rotherham.
Adam Hudson, aged 27, of Hallgate, Mexborough, and Lucy Crichton, aged 37, of Zamor Crescent, Thurcroft, Rotherham, were both found guilty of conspiring to produce cannabis after a trial.
Robert Coward received three years and nine months of custody, Thomas Coward received 46 weeks of custody, Michael Coward got 33 weeks of custody and Lynn Coward received 22 weeks of custody suspended for 18 months with a 22-week curfew.
Judge Reeds told Haigh, Hudson, Gareth Lee and Crichton: “To a greater or lesser extent you were all growers of significant quantities of cannabis on behalf of Robert Coward.”
Haigh received 12 months of custody, Hudson received 36 weeks of custody, Gareth Lee received 29 weeks of custody, and Lucy Crichton received 12 months of custody.
Judge Reeds told Jamie Lee, Bull and Sheppard: “You were growing cannabis as part of an agreement with Robert Coward.”
Jamie Lee received 22 weeks of custody suspended for 18 months with a 22-week curfew, Bull received a 12-month community order with a 15-week curfew, and Sheppard received 15 weeks of custody suspended for 12 months with a 15-week curfew.