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Location DB > England > Cornwall > Chacewater > The Gun Club
 Name
The Gun Club
 Viewing Options
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 Database Info
created by GC Intercept on 5/15/2009 8:34 PM
last modified by GC Intercept on 2/15/2012 4:16 PM
 Viewability
Publically Viewable Publically Viewable
This location has been labeled by its creator as Public, and therefore can be viewed by anyone.
 Overview
 Description
Surface blockhouse with ancillary buildings. Site of impromptu occupation on adjoining land. Disused tin/copper mine shafts from 19th century or earlier nearby
 Basic Information
Type: Building
Status: Closed
Accessibility: Moderate
Recommendation: not very exciting
 Physical Information
Address
Station Road
Chacewater, Cornwall
England
Owner: Private Individual
  • See a map of this location
  •  Hazards
  • rust
  • unsafe flooring
  • flooding
  • water
  • Deep Shafts
  •  Interesting Features
    Many interesting archaeological remains of a Traveller site, nearby deep mineshaft and gun club building. Internal grafitti.
     Security Measures
  • fences
  • barbed wire
  • locked gates
  • wooden boarding
  •  Historical Dates
    Built: 0
    Closed: 2008
     Required Equipment
  • flashlight
  • gloves
  • long pants / sleeves
  • Boots
  •  Recommended Equipment
    Camera
     History
    Former water pumping station and small bore shooting gallery. The site is most famous for once being the location of the largest and most technologically advanced cannabis production facility ever discovered by the National Crime Squad in the United Kingdom.

    Following the discovery of the cannabis factory the buildings and much of the adjoining land became occupied by New Age Travellers. The place was evacuated in 2008 under a warrant from Devon and Cornwall Police who had been attempting to evict the traveller families from the site but had fallen foul of Human Rights Act legislation in that the aforementioned residents could not be removed unless alternative habitation was found for them.

    When the site eviction took place a hidden cannabis plantation was discovered by police in a nearby clearing. Thirty-one mature plants were found inside a hollow cut into gorse bushes just yards from the derelict Gun Club building.

    The site is now in private ownership having been sold by sealed bid auction in 2010.

    ----------------

    The Case History of the original Cannabis Trial:

    Regina v Graham Douglas Allen, No: 200106130/X4
    Court of Appeal Criminal Division, 20 February 2002
    Neutral Citation Number: [2002] EWCA Crim 451 2002 WL 347057
    Before: The Vice President (Lord Justice Rose) Mr Justice Mitchell and Mr Justice Cooke, Wednesday 20th February, 2002
    Representation:
    0. Mr I Ross appeared on behalf of the Appellant.
    JUDGMENT
    THE VICE PRESIDENT:
    1. At Truro Crown Court on 9th October 2001, this appellant pleaded guilty on the second day of his trial, after the jury had been sworn, and he was sentenced, the following day, by Mr Recorder Bartlett to four-and-a-half years' imprisonment for conspiracy to produce cannabis. He appeals against sentence by leave of the Single Judge.
    2. A co-accused called Price was released on bail, failed to surrender and has still not been re-arrested.
    3. The facts are these. Until the autumn of 1998, the appellant was employed as an electrician by a firm of aeronautical engineers in Dorset. In December 1998 he left. Meanwhile, he and Price, using a number of aliases, had arranged to buy a disused small bore pistol and rifle range in Cornwall. They completed the purchase at the end of August 1999. They then converted the premises to cannabis production.
    4. In order to achieve that, a significant amount of electrical work had to be undertaken. The mains electricity was tapped at source. The cannabis plants, which were installed, were dependent on electricity for light and heat, which had to be regulated to simulate night and day conditions. That required a large number of specialist lights, each needing a transformer, which had to be automatically timed. Fans were needed to circulate and extract the air. Electronic monitoring equipment was needed to measure the strength of the salt solutions on which the plants fed. None of this could have been achieved had not the three phase electricity supply which supplied the premises been cut, initially, when the wires were live. There was also a very sophisticated security system, involving video cameras and audio recorders and the alarm system was designed, automatically, to ring Price's mobile telephone. It is apparent what the appellant's electrical skills will have contributed to these activities.
    5. On 23rd June 2000, the appellant and Price were arrested. The police officers found over 700 plants in the building, at various stages of growth. It is not disputed that, if they had reached maturity and been harvested, the retail value of their crop would have been approximately £425,000. Three crops a year can be produced. It is apparent that the annual profit, had these activities not been interrupted, would have been of the order of £1.25 million.
    6. When he was interviewed the appellant declined to answer any questions.
    7. When he passed sentence, the learned Recorder referred to the very late guilty plea, in the circumstances which we have described, and the limited credit that, in consequence, could be given for it. The Recorder also described the operation as very sophisticated and he referred to the potential profit. The Recorder accepted that the prime mover, Price, was missing, but the appellant had clearly played a substantial role, and had not exhibited any frankness, either with the police or with the probation officer.
    8. He then proceeded to pass the sentence to which, at the outset, we referred, which is, as it seems to us, plainly in line with a number of authorities relating to the production of cannabis, for example, R v Mineham [1997] 1 Cr App R(S) 268, Blake & Owen [1997] 1 Cr App R(S) 394, R v Booth [1997] 2 Cr App R(S) 67 and R v Chamberlain [1998] 1 Cr App R(S) 49.
    9. The single ground upon which Mr Ross seeks to attack the sentence passed by the learned Recorder is on the basis that, since R v Aramah 4 Cr App R(S) 407 laid down guidelines in relation to the appropriate sentence in drugs cases, the climate of public opinion has changed with regard to the possession and use of cannabis. Whether the climate has changed in relation to its criminal production on a commercial scale is another matter. Mr Ross relied on certain observations by the Home Secretary, in giving evidence to the Home Affairs Select Committee, in the autumn of 2001. What the Home Secretary said was that he was going to seek advice from medical and scientific professionals, within the space of 3 months, as to whether or not cannabis should be reclassified from Class B to Class C. As was pointed out to Mr Ross during the course of his submissions, this Court has no means of knowing what that advice will be. It has no means of knowing whether the Home Secretary will accept whatever advice is given to him. It has no means of knowing whether, when, or in what way the law may be changed in relation to cannabis.
    10. In the light of those obvious imponderables, Mr Ross accepts that we must, in this Court, apply the law as it is today, more specifically the law as it was at the time when the learned Recorder passed sentence.
    11. In our judgment, it is quite impossible to say that this sentence was in any way excessive, or wrong in principle, whatever grievance the appellant personally may feel he has in relation to the sentence which was passed upon him. This was criminal activity on a large commercial scale, intended to produce a massive profit, and it would have fulfilled that intention, had it not been interrupted by the police.
    12. In those circumstances, this appeal is dismissed.



     Media Coverage
    News from thisiscornwall.co.uk 2008:

    CHACEWATER has been celebrating the eviction of an illegal travellers' site described as a "running sore" on the village for six years. The derelict Gun Club on Station Road was abandoned after police served a notice to quit the land three days earlier. In the aftermath, the freshly deserted camp, littered with scrap, showed the squalor in which scores of adults and children had lived with no running water or sewerage. Raves, fires, thefts, fights, criminal damage and a drug overdose death were among the events that plagued neighbours' lives since 2001. District and county councillor John Dyer said: "I am absolutely delighted. Chacewater suffered for too long from their aggressive and frightening behaviour, particular towards some of the elderly, and their bad language and drinking. Individuals have been afraid to say anything because of repercussions. It has been a running sore for a long time." After Thursday's midday eviction deadline, police and the district council quickly blocked access with boulders. Across the sludgy ground, two abandoned caravans and a tent were surrounded by masses of rubbish and scrap, including old bicycles, trailers, gas bottles, electronic parts and toys. Inside the filthy old Gun Club building, a water well used as an open toilet had been sealed with wood and bricks. The walls were strewn with graffiti relating to their "alternative" lifestyle. Caravans moved onto the former pumping station six years ago after a cannabis factory there was raided but access was not properly sealed. However, Carrick District Council held back from taking action, fearing it would break human rights legislation as it could provide no alternative accommodation. Police could not use their eviction powers because they needed permission from the landowner, whose identity remained unclear. The travellers were first requested to leave in July by legal representatives acting on behalf of the legal owner of the land. A supplementary notice under section 61 of the Criminal Justice Act was served on them by Truro police officers on Monday, August 4. Local police inspector Mark Richards said: "I hope this is a reassuring development for the public and the local community of Chacewater who have raised a large number of complaints with the council and police about the presence of travellers at the Gun Club." Station Road resident Tracy Michelle said: "We are delighted. In fairness the worst thing was the noise but we did get burgled once. People down the lane had it much worse. "Late at night music would be blaring out and there was always shouting and arguments. You couldn't sit in your garden on a Sunday afternoon." However, celebrations among other residents remained cautious, with fears of reprisals and further burglaries. One said: "There has been a failure of government at all levels to address the problems of homelessness and affordable housing and to implement legislation on breaches of health and safety and planning. "I have felt sympathy for some of the travellers, but then again, they have lived up to their stereotype."

    Plymouth Herald July 2008:

    BENJAMIN TAYLOR, 35, of The Old Gun Club, Station Road, Chacewater, pleaded guilty at Truro court on June 18 to driving while disqualified and without insurance and was sent to prison for 30 days. He was banned from driving for nine months. He also admitted a breach of a conditional discharge.
     Future Plans
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     Photo Galleries
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    Post Eviction
    Fri, May 15th, 2009
    posted by GC Intercept
    25 pictures
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    Aftermath
    Mon, May 18th, 2009
    posted by GC Intercept
    25 pictures
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    May 2009: Gun Club Revisited
    Fri, May 22nd, 2009
    posted by GC Intercept
    21 pictures
     


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     Validation
    This location's validation is current. It was last validated by Opheliaism on 2/15/2012 5:00 PM.

     Latest Changes
  • on Feb 15 12 at 17:00, Opheliaism validated this location
  • on Feb 15 12 at 16:16, GC Intercept changed the following: Web Links
  • on Feb 15 12 at 16:15, GC Intercept changed the following: History, Status, Accessibility, Recommendation
  • on May 23 09 at 14:59, Steed validated this location
  • on May 22 09 at 21:53, GC Intercept updated gallery picture Toilet
  • on May 22 09 at 14:13, Steed validated this location
  • on May 22 09 at 11:49, GC Intercept updated gallery picture
  • on May 22 09 at 11:48, GC Intercept updated gallery picture
  • on May 22 09 at 11:48, GC Intercept updated gallery picture Shrine
  • on May 22 09 at 11:47, GC Intercept updated gallery picture Toilet and Shaft
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