Recycling worker’s £50K cannabis bid

A CANNABIS user became “greedy” and hoped to make £50,000 by growing the drug in a rented Heanor house, a court heard on Friday.

Police raided the Loscoe Road home on February 11 and that eventually led to an 18-month prison term for Mark Sheldon. He admitted producing a Class B-controlled drug with intent to supply.

Officers found 154 plants in a bedroom they called the “nursery area”. These plants were between five and 24 centimetres tall, prosecutor Laura Pitman, told the court.

Another room was the “main growing area” where officers found plants had been harvested. They also found “numerous drying flowering heads.”

Police found 18 plants in another room and some “mother plants probably used to provide a supply of cuttings for future crops”.

There were plastic bags used by drug dealers and the electricity meter had been bypassed.

Miss Pitman said: “He was extremely open with the police. He said he decided to grow it to sustain his own habit and told police he became greedy, decided he was going to sell it to others and make some money.

“He thought he would make £50,000 but later thought that estimate was way too high.”

She said the cannabis had a street value of between £9,600 and £13,500. But if it had been sold in £10 deals, the total could have reached £37,000.

Recorder Shaun Smith QC said the Court of Appeal had issued a scale of sentences for people involved in growing cannabis because “everybody is at it”.

Recycling plant worker Sheldon, 26, of Peveril Drive, Ilkeston, was in a higher category because it was a commercial operation and bypassing the electricity meter made it more serious.

The Recorder said: ”I don’t get the impression from what I have read that this is someone setting up some huge commercial development like a factory.”

But he warned Sheldon that if he was caught cultivating cannabis again he risked a prison term of up to six years.

Alastair Munt, mitigating, said Sheldon had “a bad experience” when he was confronted by dealers who attacked him and this made him decide to grow his own.