Stab probe leads to drug farm find

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POLICE officers who visited an address to investigate a stabbing incident made the chance discovery of a cannabis farm at the property.

Twenty seven plants were found in two tents in a shed at Mark Sutton’s property.

Preston Crown Court heard that it may have been possible to achieve a yield of more than a kilogram of the potent drug.

That could have been worth more than £6,000 if the cannabis had been broken down and sold in £20 deals.

The 27-year-old, of Victoria Road West, Cleveleys, appeared at court having earlier admitted an offence of producing cannabis.

His crime dated back to December 2009.

At that time, police were investigating a reported stabbing and had gone to the address as part of their inquiries.

Sutton, who was initially arrested on suspicion of attempted murder, was later dealt with for wounding his girlfriend.

Last summer a judge gave him a suspended sentence order for that crime.

A police DVD showing the cannabis plants found by the police was played at court ahead of his sentencing for that crime.

Robert Golinski, prosecuting, said: “The cannabis offence was discovered on the day the police went to the house in relation to the wounding.

“That was the reason for the police attendance.”

The court heard how officers found 17 plants in one tent in a shed at the rear of the defendant’s home and ten plants in another.

The prosecution submitted it was evident that the defendant was preparing for a harvest in one of the tents.

Digital scales were found at the address, as well as thermometers and timers.

There was also lighting and hand written instructions on how to feed the plants.

Chris Hudson, defending, said Sutton had stayed out of trouble since the suspended sentence order was imposed in June last year for the attack on his partner.

He added: “He has been brought up short by that sentence and has complied with the requirements.”

Sutton was given 12 months’ behind bars, suspended for two years, with two years’ supervision and a nine-month drug rehabilitation order.

He will be on a six-month long curfew, to run each night from 9pm-6am.

Passing sentence Judge Michael Byrne told the defendant: “I accept a substantial amount of the drug was for personal use and some would have been for commercial usage as well.”