A CANNABIS farmer duped police by claiming he needed to get changed before making off on foot after they arrested him.

Charlie Cooper has been jailed for his role in operating a large cannabis grow which was raided by police officers last year.

The case began on August 15, 2022, after Cheshire Police officers executed a warrant at an address on Hale Road in Widnes.

A large cannabis farm was found inside the address, consisting of 149 cannabis plants, and a man was arrested at the scene.

The man refused to answer any questions and was subsequently released on bail.

His mobile phone was also seized and during analysis officers discovered a number of messages suggesting that he was looking after the plants on behalf of another person.

Following enquiries, officers were able to link the messages to Charlie Cooper in Warrington.

A warrant was executed at his former home on Padgate Lane on March 17 this year, where Cooper was arrested.

A cannabis grow was uncovered following a raid

A cannabis grow was uncovered following a raid

While searching the property, officers discovered a safe containing a large amount of cash, along with further cash hidden behind the headboard. In total officers recovered £52,640.77.

After his arrests, Cooper was initially calm and compliant, therefore he was allowed to get dressed.

However, he subsequently made off from officers and fled the address on foot.

Despite his initial attempts to evade officers, he subsequently handed himself in due to pressure from officers.

Cooper stated no comment throughout questioning, but as a result of the evidence gathered against him, he was charged in connection with the cannabis farm.

The 28-year-old, of Bruche Heath Gardens in Paddington, appeared at Liverpool Crown Court on Wednesday.

He pleaded guilty to cultivation of cannabis and escaping lawful custody, and he was subsequently sentenced to five years in prison.

Following the hearing, PC Debra Jackson said: “I welcome the sentence handed to Cooper, and I hope that it provides reassurance to the local community.

Cash was seized from his home on his arrest

Cash was seized from his home on his arrest

“The negative impact that illegal drugs have on our communities are well known, and were committed to doing all that we can to ensure that those responsible are held accountable for their actions.

“Our battle against those who are involved in the production and supply of illegal drugs continues.

“Although Cooper is now behind bars, this is not the end, as following his lengthy custodial sentence, we will now look to proceed with a Proceeds of Crime Act hearing to determine what will happen to the cash seized at his home.

“I urge anyone with any information about suspected drug related activity in their community to get in touch. You will be listened to, and we will investigate the matter.”

There are a number signs that could indicate that a property is being used as a cannabis farm, including a strong and sickly-sweet smell.

Other signs are constantly covered or blocked-off windows, people coming and going at all hours or neighbours you never see, strong and constant lighting day and night and high levels of heat and condensation.

A constant buzz of ventilation and lots of power cables are other key signs that a cannabis farm is in operation.

To report a suspected cannabis farm or any other type of drug-related offence, call Cheshire Police on 101, visit the force’s website or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.