Cannabis ruined marriage and divided Eastwood family of desperate Heanor mum

NEWS from Nottingham Magistrates' Court.
NEWS from Nottingham Magistrates' Court.

About 20 years of cannabis use had wrecked the marriage and split the Eastwood family of a desperate mum now living in Heanor, a court heard.

Alison Hardstaff, 37, was handed a suspended prison-sentence and told to seek help for her drugs problem after a district judge heard how her personal life had deteriorated.

Hardstaff, of Holbrook Street, Heanor, pleaded guilty at Nottingham Magistrates’ Court to producing a quantity of cannabis in the loft at her former privately rented home on Radcliffe Street, Eastwood.

With the help of a lengthy pre-sentence report, prepared by the probation service, her solicitor, Amie Godson, mitigating, explained how the use of cannabis since the 1990s had “led to the breakdown of her marriage and divided her family because of accrued debts”.

“Three of her children now live elsewhere with her husband,” said Miss Godson. “She is suffering from anxiety and depression, and is on medication.

“Her 19-year-old son is acting as her carer because of her difficulties, even though he is in full-time employment. Her 14-year-old daughter is also suffering from mental-health issues because she found out that her mum could go to prison.

“However, she has been open and honest about her problems. She is actively seeking help and accepts that things need to significantly change. This has been a real wake-up call.

“These things need to be addressed if her marriage is to be reconciled, and she is really motivated to do that.”

An earlier hearing was told that the cannabis was produced by Hardstaff as part of a commercial operation. She was rumbled when her home was raided by police on Thursday, June 11 last year.

“Officers found 12 healthy plants and a growth that was well organised, with specialist materials and equipment,” said David Miles, prosecuting.

“Her mobile phone was also examined and text messages were found that made it clear she was growing the cannabis on somebody else’s behalf. It was a growth for commercial supply, expected to make a profit of £3,000, of which her share was to be £1,500.”

District Judge John Temperley told Hardstaff: “This set-up was reasonably sophisticated, and there was clearly a commercial element. It also concerns me that a 14-year-old was living in the house, or visiting it regularly, at a time when you were growing cannabis in the loft.”

Mr Temperley sentenced her to 12 weeks’ imprisonment, suspended for 12 months, and ordered her to receive drug rehabilitation treatment. He told her to pay court costs of £85 and a victim surcharge of £80, and ordered the forfeiture and destruction of all the drugs and equipment seized by the police.