A drug dealer who set up cannabis factories valued at more than £1.3 million at businesses in Walsall and Lancashire has been jailed for three-and-a-half years.
Ian Hadley leased Shedland in Lindon Road, Brownhills, with the sole intention of building his drugs empire, Liverpool Crown Court heard.
Police officers were called to reports of a burglary at the premises in April last year, but when they arrived they discovered a warehouse filled with 289 cannabis plants with a potential annual yield of £324,000.
Investigations revealed that Hadley, an electrician by trade, had been leasing the unit since March.
The 44-year-old was arrested at his home in Hardwick Court, Tamworth, and denied the offence.
In a police interview he claimed that he sublet the premises but inquiries revealed that this was a lie.
Officers also discovered that Hadley had been wanted for another offence in Lancashire, where a cannabis factory worth £1m was uncovered.
A joint operation between West Midlands and Lancashire police led to Hadley being convicted for setting up the two cannabis factories.
He was sentenced at Liverpool Crown Court after being found guilty of setting up the sophisticated cannabis factories.
Pc Gurvinder Khosa, from Walsall police station, said: “We will continue to tackle drug criminality within our area and are extremely pleased with the sentencing received.
“We would encourage anyone who is affected by drug crime to contact us – if they suspect drugs then please call us, we will always act on information received.
“It turned out that Hadley had been wanted in connection with the Lancashire inquiry for nearly two years.
“We would also like to take this opportunity to thank our colleagues in Staffordshire and Lancashire for their help and support in this inquiry.”
It comes after new figures recently revealed that more than 1,000 cannabis factories in the West Midlands have been uncovered in just 18 months – with up to four a day being found.
The recession has seen a boom in cannabis farms in the region, according to the police cannabis disposal team. The eight-strong team was set up 18 months ago.
Police say there are a number of ways to detect a possible cannabis factory, such as strong odours coming from a property or people visiting for short periods of time.
Anyone with information is asked to call police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.