A DAD who had a potential “£8,970” skunk cannabis farm in his loft has been jailed for 15 months.
Gary Morgan claimed he was acting as a gardener for the drugs and expected to receive £300 for his troubles, but refused to name the person who had asked him to grow the 20 plants at his home in Colne, Burnley Crown Court heard.
Morgan, who has had a kidney transplant, had a long criminal record, mostly for dishonesty, and had been locked up before. The defendant (31), of Cotton Court, admitted producing cannabis in April, last year.
Miss Silvia Dacre (prosecuting) said police went to Morgan’s home on an entirely unconnected matter, the defendant failed to answer and was apprehended running out of the back.
Officers detected a strong smell of cannabis, the defendant’s girlfriend denied being able to smell anything, but when the police made a search, they found the plants being cultivated in the loft. The drugs, being grown in pots, had lighting, heating, ventilation and fans.
Miss Dacre said two of the larger plants were sent for forensic analysis and were harvested. Police would say the potential yield could be 897 grams of cannabis, worth £8,970 on the streets, the crown would say it could have been less than that and the defence would claim between 400 and 900 grams could have been the yield.
The prosecutor said, when questioned, Morgan claimed the plants might have belonged to someone else and he had allowed the use of his loft. In his pre-sentence report, he had stated he was the gardener, watering and tending the plants and expected to receive about £300, depending on how well they did. Morgan had 43 previous convictions and started offending in 2000.
Sentencing, Judge Graham Knowles told Morgan that, but for the mischance of the police arriving for something else, nobody would ever have known about the plants. He continued: “You were caught. You must be punished, but the person who recruited you gets away with it and that so often happens.”
Judge Knowles, who said the defendant showed a “wholesale disregard of the law”, had taken the risk and there was no alternative to custody. He added: “This was a frankly commercial operation and if this were your own operation, you would fall, without any doubt, into the three to six years bracket.”