Judges order manhunt for Kincardine drug workers
JUDGES have today (Friday) ordered a manhunt for two workers caught in a quarter-million pound "cannabis factory" in Kincardine.
Guo Xin Wang (46) and Yu Ping Yu (41) had been freed from three-year prison sentences to await the outcome of a challenge to their conviction.
But neither of them turned up at the Court of Criminal Appeal in Edinburghtoday to hear that they had lost.
Prompted by advocate depute Iain McSporran, for the Crown, Lord Bonomy, sitting with Lords Emslie and Marnoch, issued warrants for their arrest.
The court heard that Yu Ping Yu - whose address had earlier been given as Ronald Street, London - claimed that he had missed his train.
Lawyers had been unable to contact Guo Xin Wang, who address had been given as Longstone Place, Glasgow, the judges were told.
A trial at Dunfermine Sheriff Court heard how police battered down the door of a remote farm cottage near Kincardine to find some 850 cannabis plants growing there. The harvest might have been worth £240,000 at street prices.
Drug squad officers told how mothballs had been stuffed into air ducts to try to hide the distinctive smell.
They also found three men there, including Guo Xin Wang and Yu Ping Yu.
They were found guilty of being concerned in the supply of cannabis on 2nd December 2009 at Seraba Cottage, Sands Farm.
Sheriff Ian Dunbar had rejected claims that there was not enough evidence, in law, for the charged to go to a jury.
In the appeal court, defence advocate Chris Shead and solicitor advocate Ian Martin argued that the sheriff had been wrong.
Just because the men were there didn't automatically mean that they were part of the drug operation, it was claimed.
Simon Bowie QC, for the Crown, pointed out that the cottage contained all the normal features of an illegal cannabis operation and it was "highly significant" that the two Chinese nationals had been upstairs, where all the work was going on.
In a written ruling issued on Friday, Lord Emslie said the appeal judges were persuaded that the Crown's approach was right and backed Sheriff Dunbar's decision.
The raid in December 2009 was part of Operation League 11 aimed at smashing organised crime groups running large-scale cannabis factories, often linked to people trafficking.