POLICE found two “security guards” hiding in a small room when they busted a £385,000 cannabis farm in Mount Street Mills, Bradford Crown Court heard today.

Mark Methley and Gary Hinton had arrived from Barnsley to look after the massive professional grow capable of producing 45 kilos of drugs.

Methley, 41, formerly of Hoyland, Barnsley, now of no fixed address, and Gary Hinton, 37, of Lilac Crescent, Hoyland, pleaded guilty to being concerned in the production of cannabis on February 21, 2019.

Prosecutor Syam Soni said that police officers attended at the disused former textile mill on Mount Street, off Leeds Road, Bradford, after receiving intelligence. The four-storey building had housed a firm of solicitors but it had fallen into disrepair.

It was locked up except for an insecure side shutter door leading to the main storage area.

The officers went through a hatch to the cellar and found soil and discarded pots scattered around. Pipes and wiring led to a wooden frame that contained 816 small cannabis plants.

The electricity supply had been bypassed to power 54 lights, 22 fans, 56 transformers and 13 radiators. There were also four large water containers.

Both men claimed to have been asleep and said they had no idea there was a cannabis grow in the mill, later admitting they did know but insisting they were night watchmen with nothing to do with setting it up.

Mr Soni said that basis of plea was accepted by the Crown.

The court heard that the farm had a wholesale yield of up to £202,000 and a street value of up to £385,000.

Methley, who was in custody in HMP Doncaster, also admitted controlling behaviour towards his mother, aged 75, and assaulting her with a chair.

She said he had got “nastier” after her husband died and would demand to know where she was and what she was spending her money on.

He was “chuntering” when he picked up a chair and hit her on the leg with it causing a skin tear and bruising that needed hospital treatment. He admitted assault by beating on May 29 this year.

In mitigation for Methley, his barrister said he had gone off the rails after a series of family bereavements. He became reliant on drug use and had serious mental health problems.

Tom Rushbrooke, for Hinton, said he foolishly agreed to be a night watchman at the cannabis farm. He had no convictions for drugs offences and had kept out of trouble since. He was in full-time employment with a young family to support.

Judge Neil Davey QC said it was “a massive professional cannabis grow.”

Hinton was sentenced to 12 months’ imprisonment, suspended for 12 months’, with 80 hours of unpaid work.

Methley was jailed for a total of two years.

Judge Davey said he had shamefully mistreated his mother. He was locked up for 19 months for the cannabis offence and five months to run consecutively for the charges relating to her.