Estate agent uncovered cannabis farm at Warwick bungalow
A WARWICK man rented a bungalow to use one of the bedrooms for growing cannabis in a bid to clear a debt to his drug dealer.
But James Barnsley’s scheme was uncovered after someone from the estate agent’s came across the crop while carrying out an inspection of the property.
And at Warwick Crown Court Barnsley, 20, of Moorcroft Drive, Warwick, was jailed for 12 months.
He had pleaded guilty to being concerned in the production of cannabis and also to possessing cannabis and wraps of the class B drug methadrone. Prosecutor Darron Whitehead said that on August 2, someone from an estate agent’s went to check a bungalow in Leicester Road, Leamington, which had been rented by Barnsley.
But inside the agent came across a large number of cannabis plants being grown in one of the bedrooms, so contacted the police.
Officers arrived and found that a purpose-built tent had been erected in the larger of the two bedrooms, almost filling the room.
In the tent were 37 cannabis plants which were being grown under artificial lights using a hydroponic system.
And in the bathroom was a water butt and three bottles of nutrients for the crop.
Barnsley was not at the bungalow at the time, so officers waited for him to turn up, which he did 90 minutes later, saying he was handing himself in.
Following his arrest the police recovered 12 wraps of methadrone and two cannabis joints, said Mr Whitehead.
When he was interviewed Barnsley said he had been asked to set up the growing operation by someone else, but would not disclose the identity of that person.
Nick Devine, defending, said: “He is of previous good character and in work. The way he got involved is that he himself was using hard drugs to quite some significant extent, and he ran up a debt.”
Mr Devine pointed out that at the time of Barnsley’s arrest the plants were still seedlings and nowhere near being at a harvestable stage.
And while on bail since his arrest, Barnsley contacted the Recovery Partnership to seek help in addressing his drug problem, and has kept away from drugs ever since, he added.
Jailing Barnsley, Recorder Andrew Easteal told him: “It was, I acknowledge, at a very early stage, but there were 37 plants being grown there. You have no previous convictions and are just 20 years old. That makes it very sad to see you at the back of the crown court facing a matter like this.
“I accept you were not the person behind this, and that you were doing it to pay off a debt; but this was quite a sophisticated set-up.”
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