The `fixer` behind a multi-million pound conspiracy to grow cannabis has been jailed for five years.
Vincent Phung, aged 45, of Brandon Street, London was sentenced yesterday (19 December 2012) to five years in prison for his involvement in a conspiracy to produce cannabis on an `industrial scale` at locations in Cumbria, Lancashire, Yorkshire and Northumbria.
The sentencing at Preston Crown Court follows a joint operation between Cumbria and Northumbria police.
In 2009 Northumbria Police conducted an investigation relating to cannabis farms in their area which resulted in the arrest and conviction of a number Vietnamese individuals. During the investigation Phung was identified as a significant player in the conspiracy and although he was not charged at that stage a financial investigation continued into his life style.
In May 2011 the police discovered an abandoned cannabis factory at Tearnside Hall, Kirkby Lonsdale where the house had been reconstructed in order to produce the plants by those who had rented the property from the unsuspecting landlord.
Detectives uncovered evidence that Phung had rented a string of houses and commercial properties which had been converted in cannabis farms. He was also found to have rented cars and organised car insurance in false names for use by the organised gang.
Cannabis with street value of £22,000 was recovered from one address which had already been cropped and prepared for distribution. The police also discovered a coded diary detailing the business transactions of the cannabis farms which they were able to decipher.
Detective Constable Nigel Burns said “This has been a complex investigation which has required close liaison with other forces. Phung was a significant member of an organised gang who were operating throughout the England and he is now paying the price for the role that he played.
“Some of the significant evidence in this case came about as a result of the observations from members of the public. We rely upon the community informing us of any suspicious activity in this type of case because some of the properties were in isolated areas.”
Anyone who as any information or as suspicious of drug related activity in their area can speak to a local police officer at Cumbria Constabulary on 101 or report it to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
Pictured: Vincent Phung