Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Former Hockey International and His Father Jailed

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Former Hockey International and His Father Jailed

Article excerpt

Byline: Rob Kennedy Court Reporter

AFATHER and son have been jailed after properties they controlled through their letting agency were used to set up cannabis farms on a "commercial" scale.

Former England junior hockey player Sukdave Shabilla and son Manroup Shabilla took part in a plot to grow skunk cannabis estimated to have been worth up to PS250,000 at houses in South Tyneside.

A court heard the pair say they had been put under pressure by others and their barristers said Manroup had been kidnapped at one point while Sukdave claims live bullets were posted to him and that he had a petrol bomb left at the family home.

Police raids discovered professional cannabis farms at three properties controlled by the Shabillas, which had been tended to by Vietnamese 'gardeners'.

Now former England under 18 hockey player Sukdave and his "talented pianist" son, who claimed to have turned a blind eye to what was going on, have each been sent to prison for two years after admitting conspiracy to produce a class B drug. Caroline Goodwin, prosecuting, told Newcastle Crown Court: "These two defendants were involved in a property letting agency, HB Lettings, in South Shields.

"At premises under the control of the Shabillas, search warrants were executed at various times and when they were, the police found what the Crown say were commercial cannabis farms."

One of the addresses raided was at Beaufront Terrace, South Shields, on January 19 2014.

Police found 216 cannabis plants and evidence of a previous crop.

In April, Manroup contacted police saying he had been kidnapped. When police went to Dean Terrace, in South Shields, they found 12 more plants, although no further action was taken at that stage.

A few days later officers went to another property linked to the Shabillas, at Dacre Street, South Shields, where they found a further 250 cannabis plants.

The pair were arrested and then bailed but in August police went back to Dean Terrace.

Miss Goodwin said: "Lo and behold, they found that property was being used again for a commercial cannabis farm."

Some 268 plants were discovered and a Vietnamese gardener was present. …

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