Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 20 September 2014

Shock over drug farm after shooting

Police investigating an alleged break-in at a home in Whitbourne, Hertfordshire, found a cannabis farm during forensic searches

Villagers have spoken of their shock after detectives investigating the shooting of a suspected burglar found a "well-organised and large-scale" cannabis farm during forensic searches.

West Mercia Police said a 60-year-old man, named by neighbours as Malcolm White, was still being questioned on suspicion of attempted murder and of cultivating controlled drugs after the shooting incident late on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, officers investigating the alleged break-in at White's home in Whitbourne, Herefordshire, have arrested a second man on suspicion of burglary.

The shooting victim was found with leg wounds in the nearby village of Leigh Sinton, Worcestershire, at about 8pm on Wednesday.

A police spokesman said the injured man remains in a serious but stable condition at Worcestershire Royal Hospital. A 50-year-old woman is also being held of suspicion of cultivating controlled drugs.

White, a retired clockmaker, is thought to have moved to Whitbourne from the Birmingham area around four years ago and was described by neighbours as a quiet and ordinary man who kept himself to himself.

The Rev David Howell, the rector of St John the Baptist Church in Whitbourne, said White was a divorcee who lived with his new partner at a substantial cottage and smallholding.

The clergyman said: "He has been here about four or five years. He seemed a quiet sort of chap who had just come to live the good life."

White had carried out maintenance work on the village church's clock on several occasions and had not asked for any payment. Asked for his views on the discovery of a cannabis farm at the smallholding, the Rev Howell replied: "I think most people will be shocked.

"The first thing I knew (of the shooting incident) was when I came home and there was a police car blocking the lane."

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