Pair denied bail after Ammanford bank bust
12:00pm Thursday 4th October 2012 in Ammanford news
TWO men among a gang of four accused of running a huge cannabis factory in the middle of Ammanford told police they thought they were merely delivering food and vegetables to the old Lloyd’s Bank building in Quay Street, Llanelli magistrates were told.
Confirming that around 2,000 cannabis plants had been found in the unoccupied building, prosecutor Sian Vaughan said their estimated street value was thought to be anything between £88,000 and £250,000.
Four men from London – three of them Vietnamese – are accused of producing an unknown quantity of the Class B drug in Ammanford on September 19.
Ms Vaughan said officers became suspicious after spotting George Edward Kirkup and Minh Huy Thi in a rented van at around 4.30am.
“What aroused their suspicions was that they saw a van with rental signs parked outside the old Lloyd’s Bank, which they knew to be empty,” she added.
“They also saw the men unloading boxes into the bank.”
She revealed police found “drugs paraphernalia” inside the boxes and heard people “running about” inside the building.
“These men are facing substantial custodial sentences should they be convicted," said Ms Vaughan.
Putting forward bail applications, solicitors representing Kirkup, aged 36, of Flat 13, Brambling Court, 215 Selhurst Road, Croydon, and Thi, aged 66, of Flat 1, Barrett House, Browning Street, Elephant and Castle, said they had thought they were delivering food and vegetables to people living in Ammanford.
“They did not believe anything of an illegal nature was taking place,” said Mr Richard Morgan, for Thi.
Magistrates rejected the applications and adjourned the case until October 25 when Kirkup and Thi will next appear at Llanelli court, along with co-defendants Son Minh Le, 37, and Ngau van Ngo, 19, both of no fixed abode.