A MAN and a woman have been accused of conspiring to grow tens of thousands of pounds of cannabis across the north west of England.

Preston Crown Court heard police raided a house in Roe Greave Road, Oswaldtwistle, in February and found a large number of cannabis plants worth £80,000.

Jeremy Grout-Smith, prosecuting, said that property was linked to alleged gang ringleaders Jack Nguyen and Trang Nguyen.

Mr Grout-Smith said the pair, aged 30 and 28, respectively, had rented the house in December but allegedly gave false names and identification.

Mr Grout-Smith said 18 other properties in Lancashire and Merseyside had also been searched by police. He said the pair, from Bootle, who are on trial alongside 12 other Vietnamese nationals, and had been paying out £88,260 a year on rented properties across the North West.

Mr Grout-Smith said the defendants pretended to be a couple with a young child and paid deposits for rent in cash up front and supplied false passports and false references from previous landlords to secure the houses.

Mr Grout-Smith said: “Cannabis was produced and sold in a large scale operation. The cannabis is advertised with the name skunk.”

The court heard Jack Nguyen and another member of his group were arrested on the M6 with £68,000 in cash in March near Carlisle, heading south after allegedly visiting Glasgow to sell the drugs.

Mr Grout-Smith said there was evidence that linked all the properties to Jack Nguyen and Trang Nguyen, including rent bills and receipts.

The prosecution alleges a mobile phone owned by one of the conspirators was used in the house in Oswaldtwistle.

Mr Grout-Smith said it is not accepted by the defence that this mobile belonged to the passenger in the car with Jack Nguyen, however he said “the phone was found on the passenger seat where she had been sat.”

Jack Nguyen and Trang Nguyen both deny conspiring to produce class B drugs and Jack Nguyen also denies possessing criminal property.

The trial continues.