A man secretly allowed drug dealers to cultivate a £250,000 cannabis farm in business premises owned by his girlfriend’s father, a court has heard.
Steven Dell, 34, of Waverley Avenue, Fleetwood, sobbed in the dock at Preston Crown Court during proceedings, after he pleaded guilty to allowing a premises to be used for growing class B drugs.
The background is he had a debt of up to £2,000 to people he had not wished to name
He had worked as a driver for his prospective father-in-law’s fish business, and later said he was using part of the warehouse for a gym.
The area was sealed off from view – but behind it, criminals were growing cannabis with a street value of around £249,000.
Dell, who owed a drug debt, “turned a blind eye”.
Prosecuting, Francis McEntee said: “A warrant was executed on December 1 at premises on Siding Road, Fleetwood
What was discovered was a significant and well-developed cultivation of cannabis. Police established there were 275 plants ready to be cropped. The circumstances are convoluted.
“The background is he had a debt of up to £2,000 to people he had not wished to name.”
The court heard the owner of the building leased it to Dell’s girlfriend’s father.
Neither of the men knew anything about the drugs, the court was told.
Defending, Wayne Jackson said: “It appears [Dell] owed money to people who one way or another put the ‘frighteners’ on him. They let it be known he was expected to provide this premises.
“He will not be marrying his daughter, that is all over.”
Recorder Laprell imposed a nine-month jail term but suspended it for two years.