Woman in debt let drugs grow

Preston Crown Court
Preston Crown Court
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A woman who was sinking in debt agreed to let a man grow cannabis in a converted garage at her home – when she was told she would get half the profits.

Police raided the building in Barnmouth Avenue, Marton, before the 14 plants inside could reach full maturity.

A court was told that the plants could have produced about £7,000 of cannabis when eventually harvested.

Elizabeth Cross was given a suspended sentence by a judge when she appeared be-fore Preston Crown Court.

Cross, 54, had been committed by magistrates for sentencing at the higher ourt for an offence of allowing premises to be used for producing a Class B drug.

Richard Haworth, prosecuting, said it was on May 14 this year that police executed a search warrant at her address on Barnmouth Avenue.

A sophisticated cannabis cultivation set up was in place, he said. There were 14 plants with fans and lighting.

When interviewed by police the woman said she had been aware the drug was being grown there, but that she was not herself directly responsible for it.

She had known about it for the previous 10 to 12 weeks, the court was told.

She had rented out the annexe to a man who said he was storing goods in there, paying her £30 a week for that.

One day she saw him bringing items in and asked if he was growing cannabis.

He admitted he was and asked if it was alright to continue, saying she would receive half the profits, added Mr Haworth.

The man told her she would get about a thousand pounds if she let him continue.

She herself never tended the plants.

Cross had 55 previous offences on her record, including some for drug possession.

Chris Hudson, defending, said she had been motivated by severe financial problems.

“She was in line for a thousand pounds which would have been her share of the yield.

She says she was sinking in a sea of debt.

“She succumbed to temptation”.

The plants were being grown in a converted double garage at the back of her address, the court heard.

Mr Hudson said his client was worth taking a chance on by making any prison sentence a suspended one.

Judge Stuart Baker told her: “You know what the premises were being used for and didn’t stop it”.

Cross was given eight months prison, suspended for two years, with two years supervision and 180 hours unpaid work.