£400,000 cannabis factory accused refused bail

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A man charged in connection with a cannabis factory has been refused bail at the local magistrates court.

Thomas Eoghan Brolly faces charges in connection with the seizure of cannabis plants worth around £400,000 in the Foreglen Road area of Claudy.

Brolly, of Coolessan Walk, Limavady, is charged with cultivating cannabis, being concerned in the supply of cannabis and possessing cannabis with intent to supply.

He is further charged with simple possession of the class B drug on October 23, last year.

Derry Magistrates Court heard allegations the cannabis factory was detected by police and the owner of a new build property was arrested.

750 cannabis plants were seized with a street value of between £350,000 and £400,000.

Brolly allegedly presented himself to the police station the following day and said the cannabis factory was his and he had cultivated the plants.

The court heard that police suspected the 25-year-old was under the influence of drugs at the time, in breach of bail conditions.

He later admitted he had taken speed and gave a no comment interview in relation to the cannabis factory allegations.

The court was told the home owner who was arrested is now dead.

It is further alleged that Brolly did not sign a tenancy agreement for the property until the day he went to the police station and it is suspected the home owner did not sign this.

Opposing bail, an investigating officer told the court police believe the cannabis factory is linked to an organised crime gang.

She opposed bail for fears the 25-year-old would commit further offences and breach conditions.

Defence solicitor Paddy MacDermott told the court the allegations involve a ‘very strange set of circumstances’.

He added that there are people ‘much, much more sinister and intelligent than this defendant involved in this’ and Brolly has either ‘been bribed or threatened’ to exonerate others.

The solicitor said his client has difficulties with drug addiction and this has been ‘used’ by more sinister people.

Refusing bail, Deputy District Judge John Connolly accepted it was a ‘bizarre case’ and said he had concerns about the ‘size of the operation and the value of the drugs involved’.

He refused bail for fear of further offences and Brolly was remanded in custody to appear in court again next month.