Despite failing health, Ivan Crump allowed his property to be used by others to grow more than 1000 cannabis plants for the Auckland market worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.

After police busted one of the largest cannabis growing operations in Northland in March 2016, Crump denied he knew the full extent of cultivation and also disputed the number of plants seized and the likely yield.

However, Crump and Anthony Charles Dobson were found guilty after a disputed facts hearing in Kaikohe District Court in May and jailed when they appeared for sentencing in Whangarei District Court on Friday.

Dobson, 39, a builder, occupied the property on Duddy Rd in Rawene in March last year when a police operation involving a plane, a helicopter and ground staff located two cannabis plantations. Dobson supplied cannabis to people in Auckland.


Police uprooted 877 plants up to 2m high among pine and eucalyptus trees and a further 211 in a shade house. They were potentially worth $836,700.

Crump, 59, a long-time and at times heavy user of cannabis who suffers from cirrhosis of the liver and hepatitis C, said he would not have permitted such a large cultivation on his property had he known.

He said he had authorised a man named Johnny Miller to undertake cannabis growing in return for supply of the drug.

But Judge Murray Hunt said while he accepted Crump's health was poor, he provided access to the property and authorised the use of ceiling space of his house to dry cannabis.

He said Crump even discussed the location of the plants and where the best place to grow them would be.

"I accept that during this period from late 2015 until March, his health issues were such that they precluded extensive physical activity but did not rob him of his comprehension or understanding of what he was doing," Judge Hunt said.

During sentencing, Crump's lawyer Doug Blaikie said a non custodial sentence would be appropriate given his client suffered significant pain from liver damage.

Dobson said he neither instigated the cannabis growing operation nor was a dominant player.


Crown prosecutor Jarred Scott said both men did not acknowledge their culpability and given the amount of plants seized, home detention was well out of range.

He said the 1088 cannabis plants seized were the largest in a single bust in Northland's history.

Judge Hunt said Crump's help was pivotal to the success of the cannabis growing operation on a commercial scale.

He jailed Crump for three years and two months on one charge of cultivating cannabis and a six-month concurrent sentence on another charge of supplying cannabis.

Dobson was jailed for three years and six months for cultivating cannabis.