A FATHER and businessman has been jailed for his part in operating a "sophisticated" cannabis factory.

Lucas Williams, 36, of Bron Awelon in Barry and co-defendant Simon Pinch, 28, of Caradog Street, Port Talbot were convicted of producing cannabis after being found guilty by a jury at Cardiff Crown Court.

The pair's fingerprints had been found on a lamp which was used to heat 79 plants in the factory, which was at a property in Penarth.

The court heard how Williams had 10 convictions for 19 previous offences including possession with intent to supply in 2000.

In his sentencing remarks Judge Neil Bidder said that both men were motivated by nothing other than the "financial advantage" to be gained from the drugs operation.

John Ryan for the defence described Williams as a "very caring father" who provided "financial and emotional support for his son and daughter".

"He built a business of eight years and this has been crushing for him," said Mr Ryan.

Judge Bidder said that Williams should understand that "he has brought this upon himself".

"The factory had been constructed at significant expense and with great care," he said. "Lucas Williams knew the owner well and knew that the owner was going to be abroad for a substantial part of the year.

"Both of you were well aware of the commercial nature of the enterprise which must have been there for several weeks.

"Both of you admitted that you saw it."

Addressing Williams, Judge Bidder went on to say: "You are and were a businessman. You employed Pinch and he had been working for you for a few months.

"This was an offence of greed."

He was also critical of Williams' attempts to cover up his involvement in the offence.

Judge Bidder added that he felt Williams had a greater involvement than Pinch but he could not be sure whether he was the leader of the operation.

He also said he realised the financial and emotional impact that a custodial sentence would have on their families and Williams' business.

He sentenced Williams to three years in prison and Pinch to 18 months.