Police release pictures of South Yorkshire drug-gang members jailed over cannabis operation

These are the faces of seven drugs gang members jailed for their roles in a lucrative operation growing cannabis plants at properties across South Yorkshire.

By Jon Cooper
Monday, 11th April 2022, 11:45 am

Sheffield Crown Court heard last week how gang members from Rotherham, Swinton and Mexborough were charged with offences including conspiring to produce cannabis, conspiring to acquire and convert criminal property, being the occupiers of premises used for cannabis production and possessing criminal property.

Police have now released photos of those who were jailed.

David Gordon, prosecuting, said Robert Coward, aged 39, of Telson Close, Swinton, Rotherham, was at the centre of this operation and he had recruited others into an enterprise involving cannabis farms and the laundering of thousands of pounds of proceeds.

Pictured is Robert Coward, aged 39, of Telson Close, Swinton, Rotherham, who pleaded guilty to conspiring to produce cannabis and to conspiring to acquire and convert criminal property. He was sentenced to three years and nine months of custody at Sheffield Crown Court.

Judge Graham Reeds QC said: “Each of the other people who pleaded guilty to conspiracy to produce cannabis did so because of Robert Coward involving them for money for growing crops of varying size.”

Robert Coward pleaded guilty to conspiring to produce cannabis between February, 2010, to February, 2018, and to conspiring to acquire and convert criminal property between April, 2010, and April, 2016.

His parents Michael Coward, aged 68, and Lynn Coward, aged 66, of Toll Bar Road, Swinton, Rotherham, both admitted conspiring to acquire and convert criminal property between April, 2010, and April, 2016, and to being the occupiers of a property, namely Lynn’s Chippy, on Main Street, where they allowed the production of cannabis in a flat.

Mr Gordon said a flat was found above Lynn’s Chippy with remnants of a cannabis grow to which Michael and Lynn Coward’s other son Thomas Coward accepted responsibility.

Pictured is Thomas Coward, aged 37, of St Margaret’s Drive, Swinton, Rotherham, pleaded guilty to conspiring to produce cannabis between February, 2010, and February, 2018, and to possessing criminal property after he was found with an undeclared income of £43,929. He was sentenced at Sheffield Crown Court to 46 weeks of custody.

Thomas Coward, aged 37, of St Margaret’s Drive, Swinton, Rotherham, pleaded guilty to conspiring to produce cannabis between February, 2010, and February, 2018, after growing equipment was also found in a vehicle and to possessing criminal property after he was found with an undeclared income of £43,929.

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Others who pleaded guilty to conspiring to produce cannabis included: Thomas Haigh, aged 37, of Newsam Road, Kilnhurst, Rotherham; Gareth Lee, aged 30, of Middle Avenue, Rawmarsh, Rotherham; Jamie Lee, aged 32, of Goodwin Avenue, Rawmarsh; Jake Bull, aged 31, of South Street, Rawmarsh; and Jody Sheppard, aged 40, of Providence Street, Greasborough, Rotherham.

Adam Hudson, aged 27, of Hallgate, Mexborough, and Lucy Crichton, aged 37, of Zamor Crescent, Thurcroft, Rotherham, were both found guilty of conspiring to produce cannabis after a trial.

Pictured is Michael Coward, aged 68, of Toll Bar Road, Swinton, Rotherham, admitted conspiring to acquire and convert criminal property and to being an occupier of a property, namely Lynn’s Chippy, on Main Street, where the production of cannabis was allowed in a flat. He was sentenced to 33 weeks of custody at Sheffield Crown Court.

Robert Coward received three years and nine months of custody, Thomas Coward received 46 weeks of custody, Michael Coward got 33 weeks of custody and Lynn Coward received 22 weeks of custody suspended for 18 months with a 22-week curfew.

Judge Reeds told Haigh, Hudson, Gareth Lee and Crichton: “To a greater or lesser extent you were all growers of significant quantities of cannabis on behalf of Robert Coward.”

Haigh received 12 months of custody, Hudson received 36 weeks of custody, Gareth Lee received 29 weeks of custody, and Lucy Crichton received 12 months of custody.

Judge Reeds told Jamie Lee, Bull and Sheppard: “You were growing cannabis as part of an agreement with Robert Coward.”

Pictured is Thomas Haigh, aged 37, of Newsam Road, Kilnhurst, Rotherham, admitted conspiring to produce cannabis and was sentenced at Sheffield Crown Court to 12 months of custody.

Jamie Lee received 22 weeks of custody suspended for 18 months with a 22-week curfew, Bull received a 12-month community order with a 15-week curfew, and Sheppard received 15 weeks of custody suspended for 12 months with a 15-week curfew.

Adam Hudson, aged 27, of Hallgate, Mexborough, who was found guilty of conspiring to produce cannabis and was sentenced at Sheffield Crown Court to 36 weeks of custody.
Pictured is Gareth Lee, aged 30, of Middle Avenue, Rawmarsh, Rotherham, who pleaded guilty to conspiring to produce cannabis and was sentenced at Sheffield Crown Court to 29 weeks of custody.
Pictured is Lucy Crichton, aged 37, of Zamor Crescent, Thurcroft, Rotherham, who was found guilty of conspiring to produce cannabis after a trial and she was sentenced at Sheffield Crown Court to 12 months of custody.