Graduate's flat was £25k drugs factory

Preston Crown CourtPreston Crown Court
Preston Crown Court
A web developer who descended into a downwards drugs spiral has been jailed for allowing his St Annes flat to be used as a £25,000 cannabis farm.

University educated Timothy Firth, 32, started abusing hard drugs in his late 20s after a number of bereavements and family troubles.

Preston Crown Court heard Firth had led a law abiding life and had good career prospects before his descent into substance abuse.

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Now he relies on benefits and is receiving treatment for an addiction to heroin.

On May 14, officers went to his flat in Alexandria Drive, St Annes after receiving a call from Firth’s landlord.

The landlord was concerned the front door had been replaced and the locks had been changed.

Firth, who was outside the premises, let the officers in to discover a number of electrical sockets crudely attached to a wall.

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The upstairs flat had been converted into a cannabis farm and plants with an estimated yield of more than 1.5kg were discovered growing in the property.

The drugs had a street value of £25,240 if they had grown to maturity.

Preston Crown Court heard Firth had accumulated a £1,000 debt to drug dealers and was receiving threats to himself and his family.

He agreed to allow the cannabis farm to be set up in his flat to clear his debt, the court heard.

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Judge Stuart Baker, sentencing, said: “It is sad to read of your personal or family history and nobody who had read or heard of that could fail to have some sympathy for you but having had that unfortunate and unhappy history you then became involved, by your own admission, in serious drug taking.

“Where the sympathy starts to run out is this: if you then allow people, or other criminals, to use their influence over you to persuade you to do something that is a serious criminal offence, you must recognise that if that is the sort of company you wish to keep and that is the world in which you are going to live, then you can only expect you are going to immerse yourself in more and more trouble.

“I note you have taken some steps with some determination to free yourself from drug taking and you express remorse for what you have done.

“It is my view that a person who is a drug taker and who immerses himself in a drug culture and mixes with other users and allows his premises to be used for the production of what would have been a very substantial amount of cannabis is somebody who must expect this is the type of activity to attract a prison sentence.”

He jailed Firth for 90 days.