Gambler grew cannabis farm at his Leeds home

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A gambling addict was recruited to grow cannabis plants when he went to a Gamblers Anonymous meeting, a court heard.

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Christopher Parsons was approached by another man at a meeting of the group and was offered £25,000 to produce the class B drug.

Leeds Crown Court heard Parsons, 29, agreed to get involved as he saw it as a way of paying of his debts.

Parsons was arrested when police went to his home on York Road, Leeds, after receiving a report that a burglary had taken place there.

Officers instead found 67 cannabis plants being grown on the first and second floors of the property.

The plants were analysed and estimated to be capable of producing cannabis with a street value of just under £26,000.

Parsons was not at home at the time, on March 7 this year. He later called police and said his fingerprints would be “all over” the illegal set-up and arranged to hand himself in.

Parsons, who pleaded guilty to producing cannabis, was interviewed and admitted he had been growing the plants for six months and had already produced a previous crop. Kara Frith, mitigating, said Parsons committed the offence when he was at a low ebb as a result of gambling.

She said: “He sought help through Gamblers Anonymous to get himself back on an even keel. During that process he was asked to become involved at one of those meetings.”

Miss Frith said Parsons had previously held down a good job as a branch manager of window firm, earning £1,000 a week. He was jailed for 12 months

Judge Jacqueline Davis said: “I inevitably reach the conclusion that a custodial sentence is the only option available to me. I can see no grounds for suspending it.”

WANTED: Escaped prisoner Daniel Brown.

Police swarm over Leeds community after escaped prisoner is spotted