Leeds man found living with 53 cannabis plants in his house

A man “caught red-handed” growing dozens of cannabis plants in his house claimed two other men had coerced him into setting up the illegal drugs farm.

By Amelia Bailey
Tuesday, 2nd August 2022, 4:24 pm

Andrew Fowler was arrested after police found 53 plants, heating lamps and an extractor fan at his former home in Haddon Place, Burley, back in April 2021.

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Leeds Crown Court heard the electricity in the property had been bypassed.

The hearing took place at Leeds Crown Court.

The court was told Fowler had insisted during his police interview that two other men had coerced him into growing the drugs, but he had refused to name them.

The 55-year-old, now of York Road, Leeds, later pleaded guilty to production of a class B drug.

Mitigating, Sean Smith argued Fowler may have been prompted to grow the cannabis plants due to "pressure" from others.

He added: “Why on earth would someone set up a situation like that on their own, unless they were forced to?

"He was not simply a gardener in his own property with an expectation of significant financial advantage."

Mr Smith said Fowler smoked cannabis as a form of “self-medication” for his arthritis and epilepsy.

He also suggested that the defendant was at a "low risk of reoffending".

Sentencing Fowler, Judge Tom Bayliss said: “You were caught red-handed by the police, running a cannabis farm.

"I am sceptical, but it seems to me that I can’t be sure that you performed a limited function under duress.

"It came about through some degree of exploitation. You were doing what you were told to do.”

He sentenced Fowler to 11 months imprisonment, suspended for two years.