A bar owner was caught growing £35,000 worth of cannabis in one of the premises that he owned.
A court heard Jason Hardy, 36, began growing the class B drug after a nightclub in Leeds closed due to the recession.
Police raided Hardy’s bar, Mungo’s, in Batley, on December 4 2011 and found 108 plants on the top floor.
Leeds Crown Court heard the premises were closed for refurbishment at the time.
Nicoleta Alistari, prosecuting, said the plants were capable of producing skunk cannabis with a street value of £35,000.
The next day police received a tip-off to say items were being removed from another of Hardy’s premises – Jardy’s, in Birstall.
When officers arrived they found a man throwing large amounts of soil and vegetation into a skip.
They searched the premises and discovered evidence of the building being used as a cannabis farm.
Hardy, of Clough Drive, Birstall, was arrested and claimed men had approached him and asked him if they could rent a room at Mungo’s.
He said he initially refused but they then made threats to set fire to one of his businesses.
Hardy pleaded guilty to producing cannabis and allowing premises to be used for the production of cannabis.
Anastasis Tasou, mitigating, said Hardy had enjoyed a long period as a successful nightclub and bar owner before the economic downturn.
He said financial troubles began after he had to close his nightclub in Leeds and were made worse when Mungo’s had to be closed for renovation.
Mr Tasou said the money from the illegal operation was to pay his mortgage and not to fund any extravagant living for himself or his family.
He said: “these offences were an act of desperation. He seized upon an opportunity for a short term fix.”
Judge James Spencer QC gave Hardy a two year prison sentence, suspended for two years and ordered him to do 240 hours unpaid work.