Colne dad used crisis loan to buy equipment to grow cannabis

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A FATHER-OF-THREE growing cannabis worth almost £9,000 in his attic had bought the equipment with a £750 crisis loan meant for furniture, a court heard.

Terence Graham, who is on benefits, had 12 plants and a hydroponic system in the loft space when police raided his home on New Market Street, Colne, last September. The electricity meter had also been by-passed to get free power, Burnley Crown Court heard.

Graham (30) also flouted a suspended jail term, imposed for racially aggravated fear or provocation of violence and assault after trouble when he thought an Indian takeaway worker had overcharged him for his chips. He had been given eight months in prison, suspended for 18 months, with a curfew and 100 hours unpaid work, but had not done a single hour.

The hearing was told how Graham had ended up suffering septicaemia after biting himself when he was locked up in a police cell.

The defendant, who claimed the cannabis had been for his own use and he had had no intention to supply any, had admitted producing the drug, abstracting electricity and failing to comply with the suspended term, imposed on January 28th. He was jailed for six months.

Sentencing, Recorder Anthony Cross told Graham he had a bad record and had earlier been given a chance for a serious offence of violence. The judge, who said the defendant had “mutilated” himself by the bite, added: “I am afraid you have to learn a hard lesson.”

Mr Tom Lord, prosecuting for the Crown and probation service, said when police found the cannabis plants, Graham said immediately the “weed” was his and added: “By the way, the meter’s wired.” The drugs were immature and not ready to be harvested, but the potential yield of the plants would have been 876 grams of cannabis, worth £8,760 on the streets.

The court was told Graham claimed the cannabis was for medicinal purposes, he had been growing it for a couple of months and it was not for financial gain.

The defendant told the hearing he had used cannabis since he was 14 and the growing system was “nothing sophisticated.” He added: “It was just two lights hanging from the ceiling rafters.” He claimed he smoked the drug as he was in pain and because he was on benefits, couldn’t afford to buy it on the streets.

Graham continued: “I thought by growing it myself I would save a lot of money. I had no intention to supply it at all. I got a social loan and that paid for all my equipment.” He added a loan was intended for household items and furniture and he was paying it back out of his benefits, at £16 every fortnight.