Leeds man ‘forced’ to grow £100k of cannabis

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POLICE found a cannabis farm capable of producing over £100,000 worth of the drug when they searched a house in Leeds.

A court heard officers went to the home of Wayne Howell on Aviary Road, Armley, on December 1 last year after they became suspicious of the smell coming from the property.

A total of 48 plants were found growing in insulated rooms in the cellar which was equipped with growing and lighting equipment.

More plants were found growing in a shower in the bathroom.

David Lampitt, prosecuting, said the plants were capable of producing three crops a year, producing £111,000 worth of the class B drug.

Howell was arrested and told officers he had been forced to look after the plants after getting into debt with drug dealers.

He pleaded guilty to producing a class B drug.

Stephen Smithson, mitigating, said Howell had been approached by criminals who told him his home had to be used to grow the plants.

Mr Smithson said Howell initially refused but was attacked and suffered broken ribs.

He added: “He was then told in no uncertain terms that these plants were going to arrive at his home.”

Leeds Crown Court heard there was an arson attack at the property the day after police made the discovery and Howell had been made homeless.

Recorder Richard Gioserano agreed to impose a suspended prison sentence after seeing medical evidence of Howell’s injuries and police details of the arson attack.

He was given a 12 month sentence, suspended for two years.

He was also ordered to do 100 hours unpaid work and made the subject of a curfew for three months.