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Charges to be dropped against woman after 700 cannabis plants seized

PUBLISHED: 14:47 17 July 2019 | UPDATED: 14:47 17 July 2019

Breckland Police found more than 700 cannabis plants in an outbuilding in Houghton Lane, North Pickenham. Photo: Breckland Police

Breckland Police found more than 700 cannabis plants in an outbuilding in Houghton Lane, North Pickenham. Photo: Breckland Police

Breckland Police

Charges are to be dropped against a 65-year-old woman, whose partner was found growing around 700 cannabis plants in an outbuilding, near Swaffham.

Breckland Police found more than 700 cannabis plants in an outbuilding in Houghton Lane, North Pickenham. Photo: Breckland PoliceBreckland Police found more than 700 cannabis plants in an outbuilding in Houghton Lane, North Pickenham. Photo: Breckland Police

Charles Nichols, 67, and his wife Helen were both charged with production of cannabis and illegally abstracting electricity between January 2017 and February 2018, after police raided their home in Houghton Lane, North Pickenham.

Police carried out the raid in February, this year, with the help of a drone, which was carried out following a tip off to local beat officers.

The pair appeared at Norwich Crown Court on Wednesday, when Martin Ivory, prosecuting said that charges against Helen Nichols were to be dropped.

He said that Charles Nichols had at an earlier hearing pleaded guilty to both charges on the basis that he was growing the drug for cannabis oil for his personal health reasons and the prosecution was now planning to offer no evidence against Helen.

Judge Andrew Shaw adjourned the case until September 5, for pre-sentence reports on Charles Nichols and told him he may well have to give evidence at his sentencing hearing about the basis of plea he was making.

He warned Charles Nichols that by ordering a pre-sentence report it did not mean he would not get custody.

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He said: "All options will be open to the court."

He said that a not guilty verdict would be directed at the same hearing for Helen Nichols.

The raid at the Nichols' address was made after information was passed to beat officers from Breckland Police.

They sent up a drone to try to spot a heat source before searching the premises and finding the 700 plants growing in an outbuilding at the address.

At the time Insp Jon Papworth said the haul was large for the area and was a success for local policing.

He said they took cannabis cultivation very seriously.

Insp Papworth said that the National Grid were also called to the scene to disconnect the electricity, which was being illegally abstracted.

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