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Sunday, 21 December 2014

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Drug crook's anger at cop op codeword

A man caught growing cannabis in north Cumbria later found his name being used as the codeword for a huge police operation targeting organised crime across the north west of England, a court heard.

Paul Broadley, 58, had been arrested after being caught running an amateurish cannabis farm at Anthorn on the Solway coast.

He had pleaded guilty at Carlisle Crown Court last November to cultivating the banned class B drug and was awaiting sentence when he discovered that the combined police forces of the north west had launched a major operation bearing his name.

In March – with Broadley still awaiting sentence - police from Merseyside, Greater Manchester, Cheshire, Lancashire, North Wales and Cumbria teamed up with the north west regional organised crime unit, Titan, to launch “Operation Broadley” in a joint battle to crack down on cannabis cultivation in the region.

It was set up particularly to target the dangerous, organised criminal gangs frequently found involved in drug production.

“These gangs are often responsible for other serious crime and operate through fear, using violence and intimidation,” Cumbria Constabulary’s Detective Chief Inspector Lee Johnson said at the time.

Which, as Carlisle Crown Court heard, proved a big embarrassment to the Anthorn cannabis-grower, whose family as a result suffered comments about what looked like his implied association with major criminals. “He was incredibly upset about it,” his barrister Elizabeth Muir told the judge.

Broadley’s lawyers wrote to the police to complain about the way they had apparently taken his name for their campaign, saying it made it appear that he was somehow involved with dangerous big-time criminals. But the police replied saying the use of the word “Broadley” had been “randomly chosen” and had nothing to do with him, Ms Muir said.

In court, Broadley, now of Solway Drive, Wigton, pleaded guilty to cultivating cannabis, possessing it with intent to supply it and possessing amphetamines.

Broadley was given nine-month prison sentence, suspend for 18 months.

 

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