‘I only visited drug building to store wood,’ says man accused of working in Banbury cannabis factory

First published in News

A MAN who denies working in a cannabis factory in an old warehouse told a court he only visited the building once.

Leslie Ballard, 59, of Broughton Road, Banbury, and Birmingham residents Gulfam Yousaf and Zafar Iqbal, deny producing the Class B drug.

On April 24, 2011, police found 87 mature cannabis plants in tents on the first and second floors of a building in Pepper Alley in Banbury.

Yousaf, of Chestnut Road, Birmingham, was arrested after a cigarette butt with his DNA on it was found on the warehouse’s first floor.

Yesterday, the 39-year-old told Oxford Crown Court he had only visited the building once in early 2011 to deliver some plywood with his fellow defendant Iqbal.

He said: “There was a friend of mine who had this wood coming.

“He makes drawers and things and has got a factory. He mentioned in a conversation that he had some wood for sale.”

Yousaf said he and 35-year-old Iqbal, of Church Road, Birmingham, moved about 320 sheets of plywood to the warehouse and he smoked around 10 cigarettes during the work.

He said: “I smoked upstairs, downstairs, outside. All over the place. That was how it got there.”

But Sandra Beck, prosecuting, told him: “You are making this up to account for how your DNA on a cigarette butt got there.”

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The trial continues.

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