POLICE found a cannabis farm worth £63,000 when they raided a binman’s home, a court heard.
Thomas Milner, 32, was spared a jail sentence over the discovery of 80 of the illegal plants at a house on Wakefield Road, Rothwell.
Leeds Crown Court heard officers went to the property on May 15 this year after complaints about the smell coming from the house.
Officers found two men hiding in a bedroom. Catherine Duffy, mitigating, said the house was fitted with an extraction system and drying equipment.
Rooms had been covered with plastic sheeting and the electricity supply had been bypassed.
Miss Duffy said the plants were capable of producing 7.4kgs of cannabis, with a street value of £63,000. A small amount of mkat, worth £170, was also found in a box in a bedroom.
The court heard the two men in the property were arrested at the scene but were subsequently not charged with any offence.
Milner was interviewed and denied having anything to do with growing the cannabis.
He told officers he leased the property but was struggling to keep up with the payments and other bills. He said he was approached in a pub by a man called Mark and asked if he would rent out the top two floors of the four storey property.
Milner agreed and was paid £400 per week.
He pleaded guilty to permitting premises to be used for the production of cannabis and possession of a class B drug.
Milner, a binman for Wakefield Council, represented himself in court as he did not qualify for Legal Aid. The court heard he has no previous convictions. Milner handed the court references which people had written on his behalf.
Milner was made the subject of a 12 month community order and told to do 200 hours unpaid work . He was also ordered to pay £425 court courts.
Recorder Toby Hedworth told Milner: “I have got to deal with you for allowing premises to be used for cultivation of cannabis. The prosecution’s case is based on the fact that not only did you allow this person ‘Mark’ to use the premises, but you must have known about it, because of the smell.
“Indeed, a member of the public reported the smell to the police. You were getting benefit for this at £400 per month.”
He added: “Exotic though the drugs world may seem at one end, it has got a sharp point at the other end I’m afraid.”