Man denies growing £25,000 worth of cannabis plants in Birstall bar

Cannabis farm found at Jardy's Sports bar in Birstall with PCSO Sanda Jaganjac at the scene.
Cannabis farm found at Jardy's Sports bar in Birstall with PCSO Sanda Jaganjac at the scene.

Police who raided a sports bar found an underground labyrinth in the cellar containing £25,000 worth of cannabis plants, a court heard.

Jason Hardy, of Gelderd Road, Birstall, denies growing the class B drug in the basement of his former bar, Jardy’s.

Police raided the bar in Low Lane, Birstall, on February 17 this year and found seven cannabis plants in the cellar.

Charles Blatchford, prosecuting, told Leeds Crown Court the plants were capable of producing skunk cannabis with a street value of £25,000.

He said: “It was a sophisticated underground operation under a sports bar.

“It is a labyrinth in the basement. They found seven very tall and well established cannabis plants and hanging around the side were leaves being dried out. The plants were so tall they started to interfere with the lighting in the room.”

PC Andrew Maloney told the court officers entered the premises after obtaining a search warrant.

After speaking with Hardy in the bar’s office, police searched the bar for entry points to the basement.

Officers found a small entry point behind a fire escape and searched under the floor boards.

They removed the laminate flooring in the corridor with a metal crowbar, revealing a trap door.

Mr Maloney said: “Under the door there was a set of ladders and when I went down there, it was quite open planned with purposely built rooms.

“I followed the air ducting and found the cannabis in the main room.”

Police also found a surgical glove with traces of Hardy’s DNA on it.

Mr Maloney told the court from previous drugs raids he attended, the building showed clear signs it was being used as a cannabis farm.

He said: “The plants were very bushy and the biggest I have ever seen. Some of the plants have been harvested and were hanging to dry.

“We found a water butt and a time switch, which is an automated system to turn the lights and water off.

“The temperature was quite hot and there were large fans in the basement.”

After the cannabis was found, police told Hardy to ask customers to leave and close the bar.

Hardy denies a charge of producing cannabis.

The bar is now under new ownership.

The trial continues.