Pensioners admit running cannabis farm in village

PUBLISHED: 16:30 19 November 2015


A pair of pensioners with a combined age of 136 have admitted running a cannabis farm in Woodbury Salterton.

Maureen Pearson, 73, and William Woolfenden, 63, both pleaded guilty at Exeter Crown Court to jointly running the drug-producing operation at a cottage in the village

Woolfenden also admitted supplying cannabis over an 18-month period, while Pearson also admitted to money laundering.

Pearson, of Russett Cottage, Woodbury Salterton, and Woolfenden, of Palmerston Park, Tiverton, both admitted producing cannabis at Woodbury Salterton between June 1, 2013 and December 22, 2014.

Pearson admitted possessing criminal property between the same dates, while Woolfenden admitted being concerned in the supply of the class B drug.

Judge Francis Gilbert, QC, adjourned both cases for probation pre-sentence reports and set a timetable for confiscation procedures under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

Mr James Taghdissian, prosecuting, said both defendants had submitted bases of plea, which were not accepted in full.

He said the differences related to how much money was made from the venture and could be settled when the confiscation proceedings were dealt with.

Mr Taghdissian said: “In respect of Woolfenden, the issues can be sorted out under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

“In the case of Pearson, she says all the money she made went on providing the electricity.

“While we don’t accept that, there was no attempt to by-pass the meter and we accept she was not living the high-life from the proceeds of selling cannabis.

“We say money was going to pay existing debts.”

Mr William Rose, for Pearson, and Mr Stephen Nunn, for Woolfenden, said a pre-sentence report would be useful in suggesting alternative options to immediate custody.

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