Former bank boss grew £30,000 of cannabis at his home in Leeds

Picture: PA Wire
Picture: PA Wire
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A former bank manager and his partner were caught with over £30,000 worth of cannabis plants at their home in Leeds, a court heard.

Police made the discovery when they went to the house Gemma Birley shared with her then partner Christopher Cawood in Seacroft, Leeds, in October 2012.

Officers found 15 plants growing in the attic of the property on Boggart Hill Drive. A further 30 plants were also found in the garage.

The plants were found to be capable of producing cannabis with a street value of £34,000.

Cawood was arrested and interviewed and said he had begun growing the plants to fund his £300-a-week habit.

Cawood, 35 pleaded guilty producing cannabis. Birley, 33, pleaded guilty to allowing premises to be used for the production of cannabis.

Birley was given a 12-month conditional discharge for the offence. Recorder Ray Singh said he had read a probation report which described her as unlikely ever to come before the court again.

Cawood was given a two-year prison sentence, suspended for 12 months, and ordered to do 300 hours unpaid work.

Richard Reed, mitigating, said Cawood had once reached the “dizzy heights” of being a manager with HBOS but lost his career following a violent attack.

Mr Reed said the injuries he suffered had left him with a changed personality. The lawyer said Cawood and Birley no longer lived together because of his problems.

He added that Cawood had worked hard to overcome his difficulties since the offence and has started his own business.

Recorder Ray Singh told Cawood: “Yours was a significant role. You were fully aware of the significance of the operation.”

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