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Norfolk farmer who grew £1m of cannabis and tried to steal piglets fails to show at court

PUBLISHED: 14:43 05 September 2018 | UPDATED: 18:26 05 September 2018

James Ogilvy was jailed for 25 months for growing cannabis and stealing pigs. Picture: Norfolk Constabulary

James Ogilvy was jailed for 25 months for growing cannabis and stealing pigs. Picture: Norfolk Constabulary

Norfolk Constabulary

A struggling Norfolk farmer who turned to crime to try to keep his farm going has had his court hearing to claw back cash adjourned after he failed to attend.

James Ogilvy, 65, allowed containers at Valley Farm, Beeston, near Dereham, to be used to grow cannabis plants with a potential street value of £1 million and while on bail for that offence he was caught trying to steal 31 piglets from a farm at Great Cressingham, Norwich Crown Court heard,

Ogilvy was jailed for 25 months for allowing premises to be used for the cultivation of cannabis and also theft back in February 2015, but was due back in court for a confiscation hearing.

However Ogilvy failed to attend the hearing and there was also no legal representative for him in court.

Prosecutor Joanne Eley said she could not be certain Ogilvy knew of the hearing although he was aware of the proceedings.

She said a letter was sent in January this year and again on August 22.

She said that Ogilvy lived in a mobile home surrounded by fencing with a post box and she could not be certain if the letters had been received informing him of the date.

Judge Andrew Shaw adjourned the case until September 26.

Ogilvy claimed the downturn in farming income and debts forced him to turn to crime to try to keep his farm going, which he had been running for more than 10 years.

When police raided the farm in April 2014, the court heard there were 200 plants at various stages, with a street value of around £117,000 to £156,000, and if there were four crops the court heard the operation would be capable of producing cannabis with a street value of about £1 million a year.

While on bail for that offence, Ogilvy was caught trying to steal piglets from a farm at Great Cressingham and Ogilvy was spotted with another man trying to load the piglets into crates.

The other man got away, but Ogilvy was caught red-handed and the piglets recovered.

However the fact the pigs had been attempted to be moved meant they fell foul of strict EU regulations on the movement of livestock, which caused extra problems for the farmer.

The sentencing judge had told Ogilvy that the illegal movement of pigs could have had a catastrophic effect on the whole of the pig industry.

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