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Jury retires in cannabis factory trial
10:30am Friday 22nd February 2013 in News
THE jury has gone out in the trial of three men accused of running a cannabis factory in Banbury.
Leslie Ballard, 59, of Broughton Road, Banbury, and Birmingham residents Gulfam Yousaf and Zafar Iqbal deny producing the Class B drug.
Yesterday, after almost four days of evidence, the jury retired at Oxford Crown Court to decide their verdict.
The three defendants were arrested after 87 mature cannabis plants were discovered in tents on the first and second floors of a building in Pepper Alley in Banbury on Sunday, April 24, 2011.
Ballard was allegedly renting the property from its owner, property developer Peter Henry, who discovered the plants after becoming suspicious.
Sandra Beck, prosecuting, summed up the evidence against them and said the three defendants were the only ones who could have been responsible for the drug operation.
She said: “Martians hadn’t landed in Pepper Alley – no-one had taken over Pepper Alley except Mr Ballard.
“He had control day-to-day of those premises. Everything that has gone on at Pepper Alley is within Mr Ballard’s knowledge and under his direction.”
She added that the other two defendants, whose DNA was discovered at the scene and who were connected to Ballard by phone records, were either guilty or “the most unlucky men in the world”.
The trial of Ballard, 35-year-old Iqbal, of Church Road, Birmingham, and 39-year-old Yousaf, of Chestnut Road, Birmingham, continues.