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Neighbours’ relief after Sprowston cannabis bungalow discovered

PUBLISHED: 07:00 15 March 2020 | UPDATED: 08:16 15 March 2020

Property in Rayns Close, Sprowston, where cannabis growing operation was discovered. PIC: Peter Walsh.

Property in Rayns Close, Sprowston, where cannabis growing operation was discovered. PIC: Peter Walsh.

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Neighbours living near to a bungalow being used by a gang to grow cannabis have spoken of their relief that the set-up was discovered.

Laimas Simkunas. Picture: Norfolk ConstabularyLaimas Simkunas. Picture: Norfolk Constabulary

A tip-off from the public to police blew the gang's cover, as officers descended on the property at Rayns Close in Sprowston.

They arrived to find the blacked-out windows and a strong smell of cannabis, Norwich Crown Court heard.

On Friday Laimas Simkunas, 44, admitted he had been living at the address and acting as gardener tending to the plants.

The two other men arrested - Sarunas Janiukstis, 52, and Rytis Ivanauskas, 40 - admitted their involvement as they had made deliveries of equipment to the address.

Sarunas Janiukstis. Picture: Norfolk ConstabularySarunas Janiukstis. Picture: Norfolk Constabulary

Simkunas, Ivanauskas and Janiukstis, who had the help of a Lithuanian interpreter in court, all admitted being involved in the production of cannabis on October 29 last year, and were jailed for 20 months.

A man in his 50s who lives near to the property and who called police said he was glad the operation had been stopped.

He said: 'You just don't want that sort of thing going on.

'I've got a grandson who comes round and you don't want it on your doorstep.'

Rytis Ivanauskas. Picture: Norfolk ConstabularyRytis Ivanauskas. Picture: Norfolk Constabulary

The man, who wanted to remain anonymous, said that as well as the drugs, he was also concerned about the potential fire risks associated with such set-ups where electricity is bypassed.

He said it was the second time the address had been used for growing drugs.

Another man who lived in the area but did not want to be named said: 'I've no desire to have a cannabis factory a few doors away.'

The 54-year-old said he had not smelt cannabis and had even spoken to one of the gang members who was 'reasonably chatty' and 'seemed quite a nice bloke'.

The man said the gang member had told him he was a builder who was separated from his wife.

The man said he had not suspected anything until one day when he saw a police car sat there.

He said: 'I was surprised'.

Chris Youell, prosecuting on Friday, said police raided the address and three men were arrested at the scene. He said that three rooms at the small bungalow were being used for the commercial cannabis growing operation and 95 plants were found.

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