Jail for men who disguised cannabis as ‘dried flowers’

David Ward (left) and John Pritchard

David Ward (left) and John Pritchard

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A trio who were involved in importing £300,000 worth of cannabis labelled as ‘dried flowers’ in an organised crime group have been jailed.

Businessmen David Ward, 46, and John Pritchard, 57, imported 100kg of the class B drug from Greece and delivered it to homes in Brackley.

They were both sentenced to five-and-a-half years in prison.

Timothy Gosling, 48, of Caesars Gate in Brackley, who allowed two loads of cannabis to be sent to homes he owned, pleaded guilty to his involvement in the conspiracy and will spend three years and three months behind bars.

The investigation began in April 2012 when officers from the UK Borders Agency intercepted four parcels - each containing 9kg of herbal cannabis - destined for addresses within Northants.

Northants Police and the East Midlands Special Operations Unit took on the case and discovered that a Brackley-based organised crime group was responsible.

Property developer Ward, of Hastings Road in Banbury, and Pritchard, of Woodgreen in Witney, were importing the cannabis for distribution across Northants and Bucks.

They both denied a charge of conspiracy to supply class B drugs but were later found guilty after a trial at Northamptonshire Crown Court and were sentenced on September 16.

Presiding Judge HHJ Fowler said: “This was a sophisticated operation that took a lot of planning by a group of established businessmen.”