Former NFU chairman arrested after cannabis raid

A Devon farmer and former NFU branch chairman has been arrested in connection with an alleged cannabis farm.

John Shears, 69, was among four men arrested and bailed by police after the discovery of 189 cannabis plants at a farm in Devon.

Devon and Cornwall Police arrested Mr Shears, from Chagford near Newton Abbot, following a raid on a farm in Devon on Thursday, 7 May.

Officers seized the cannabis plants along with suspected drugs production equipment from the farm.

Mr Shears and three other men were quizzed at Launceston Police Station in Cornwall on suspicion of production of Class B drugs. All four men were later bailed until 7 August.

A spokesman for Devon and Cornwall police confirmed: “A warrant was executed at a rural property in Chagford around 9.20am on 7 May.

“Officers seized more than 100 suspected cannabis plants and suspected drugs equipment.

“Four men were arrested on suspicion of production of Class B drugs. They were aged 41, 34, 69 and 25 and from Chagford. All four were taken into custody at Launceston and bailed until 7 August.”

Inspector Andy Oliver, of Devon and Cornwall Police, added: “All those questioned were arrested on suspicion of being concerned with the production and supply of cannabis.

“Some 189 plants were taken away. They had an estimated street value of £74,800. This was a big operation.”

Mr Shears began his career working horses for Dartington Woodland and then progressed to lorry driving. He has farmed, run a cattle transport business and trained race horses.

He was an active member of the NFU and served as chairman and vice-chairman. Currently, Mr Shears is chairman of the Chagford Commoner’s Association, having been an active member for many years.

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