Jobless man grew £11,000 of cannabis

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AN out-of-work bricklayer grew over £11,000 worth of cannabis at his home after losing his job, a court heard.

Police discovered 15 plants along with sophisticated heating and lighting equipment when they searched the home of Jason Pickles.

Officers went to Pickles’s home on Wycliffe Street, Ossett, on December 1 last year after receiving information that the class B drug was being cultivated at the property.

Paul Fleming, prosecuting, said Pickles told officers: “I guess I’m going to prison then aren’t I? I don’t even smoke it either.”

The plants were tested and found to be capable of producing skunk cannabis.

Pickles was interviewed and admitted that he had grown the plants in the hope of making some money. He said he had bought the equipment used to produce the drug for £1,500. Pickles also said that he needed money because he had lost his job and had an alcohol problem. He pleaded guilty to producing cannabis.

Martin Sleight, mitigating, said his client had admitted the offence at an early opportunity.

He added that Pickles had managed to obtain another job as a brick layer since committing the offence.

Mr Sleight said Pickles has no previous convictions for drug offences.

Pickles was given an 18 month prison sentence, suspended for two years. He was also ordered to do 150 hours unpaid work and take part in a 30-day activity programme designed to address his offending. Judge Sally Cahill, QC: “Having lost your employment you thought there was a significant way of earning an amount of money to assist with your difficulties.

“By doing that you have put yourself at risk of going to custody. The risk you took was enormous and I hope you do not think the risk is worth taking again in the future.

“It was clearly a well planned set up. Had the police not arrested you, you would have made a profit.”