A GANG who admitted their parts in a burglary which saw a £240,000 cannabis factory unearthed have been warned that they could face jail.

Police initially uncovered the 600-plant haul last April after officers stopped two vans close to Burnley town centre.

Around 200 cannabis plants were seized from the vehicle – and a further raid on the former McBrides factory in Ruskin Street revealed another 400 specimens.

The plants were said to be around 12 to 18 inches high and the street value of the drugs produced by each would have been approximately £400.

And now three men– all from the Bradford area – have appeared at Burnley Crown Court to plead guilty to their role in the burglary.

Russell Coope, 26, of Sheldon Ridge, Giovanni Maccioni, 38, of Waincliffe House, Fearnville Drive, Laisterdyke, and Ian Batey, 50, of Radnor Street, each admitted the offence and possessing cannabis.

The court heard Batey, a widower, had a record, but had not offended for 20 years. Maccioni had no previous convictions.

All three were remanded on bail until April 24, for pre- sentence reports.

Judge Beverley Lunt said: “All sentencing options, including prison, will be considered, although the decision will be made when the pre- sentence reports have been read.”

Speaking at the time, Det Sgt Mark Gillbrand had described the farm as a ‘very large and complex set-up’, with a number of small rooms created for growing the drug and expensive filters employed.

The cleaning products factory closed down at the end of March 2012, with the loss of 350 jobs, and residents subsequently fought against converting the premises into a waste plant.