A former Lincolnshire police officer has been jailed for three years and four months for his role in a “sophisticated” cannabis farm.
Paul Lewsey, 50, was heavily involved in the operation discovered by police off the A631 at Hemswell, Lincoln Crown Court heard.
The structure was well hidden from prying eyes and could not even be detected by specialist heat-seeking equipment often used to track down cannabis farms.
But the operation was uncovered because the lack of a mains water supply meant hundreds of litres of water had to be transported to the site each day to meet the demands of the cannabis.
Undercover police officers keeping an eye on the area saw Lewsey regularly bring in large amounts of water in 25-litre containers.
One of his accomplices was identified as Simon Hopps, a convicted killer, who served a jail sentence for manslaughter back in 1994.
When the building was raided officers found a sophisticated cannabis-growing operation divided into two rooms, the court heard.
The plants found inside together with the remains of a crop recently harvested were estimated to have been able to produce £150,000 worth of the illicit drug.
Two smaller rooms were used for equipment and storage. Lewsey also used his own home as a nursery - when police raided his property they found 117 seedlings waiting to be transferred to the site.
Lewsey served with Lincolnshire Police between 1986 and 1998. He later turned to crime and in August 2005 was jailed for six years for supplying cocaine. He was arrested after offering drugs to an undercover police officer he met in a pub.
Lewsey, of Church Lane, North Carlton, and Hopps, 38, of Four Seasons Close, Dunholme, each admitted producing a controlled drug between August 10 and September 23, 2012.
Lewsey was jailed for 40 months. Hopps - who was caught helping to water the plants - was jailed for 16 months.
Serntencing Judge Sean Morris told Lewsey: “This was clearly a set-up that was meant to be there for a long time and to produce extremely large amounts of cannabis. I am quite satisfied you had a significant role in this. You had full awareness of the sheer scale of the operation.”
Prosecuting Jeremy Janes said the cannabis plants found inside the building were capable of producing nearly 7kgs of the drug while the remains of a recently cultivated crop in the adjoining room would have produced a further 8 kgs. The site was destroyed by police.
Defending Barry Gilbert described Lewsey as having “a chequered past” but denied he had a major involvement in the cannabis farm.