SIX defendants have denied intending to supply cannabis, after police carried out a raid at a popular former pub.

Essex Police raided the former Belvedere pub, in Hardings Elm Road, Crays Hill, on March 15, finding 1,500 cannabis plants. It was said at the time the haul was estimated to be worth more than £1million.

Officers dubbed the haul massive, and arrested seven men and one woman in the raid. Six of them – Jeremiah Dill, 30, of Black Horse Lane, Ipswich, Kievan Smith, 38, from Burrell Road, Ipswich, Gazmend Daci, 26, of Wherstead Road, Ipswich, Tuan Dang, 28, of no fixed address, Ingrinda Aleknaviciute, 27, of Wherstead Road, Ipswich, and Micheal Bridger, 31, of Fishponds Lane, Ipswich – all deny possession of cannabis with intent to supply.

They all appeared at Basildon Crown Court yesterday.

Two further defendants – Edmond Koleci, 26, of Morley Avenue, inWood Green, and Hong VanTran, 55, of no fixed address – were not present at the hearing.

Aleknaviciute and Daci also faced an extra charge of possession with intent to supply cannabis other than in the first count. Aleknaviciute denied the charge and Daci pleaded not guilty, but admitted he was guilty of custody of the drugs.

The case has been adjourned until next Friday, for the last two defendants to plead.

Plans were announced last year to turn the pub into a care home, but police were called to the venue in March, after attempts of a break-in.