Man who used Leamington flat for growing cannabis is given suspended prison sentence

A man who used his local authority flat for growing cannabis he planned to sell to clear off his debts has escaped being jailed.

Adam Lucas appeared at Warwick Crown Court after earlier pleading guilty to producing cannabis at the flat in Eden Court, Lillington.

Lucas, 46, now of Stamping Way, Bloxwich, Walsall, was given an eight-month prison sentence suspended for 12 months and ordered to take part in a rehabilitation activity.

Prosecutor Ian Windridge said that in February Warwick District Council employees needed to carry out a fire inspection on flats in Eden Court.

Adam Lucas.

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After trying to contact Lucas, who had the tenancy of one of the flats, but getting no response, they turned up and let themselves in to carry out the inspection.

Once inside, they saw that two rooms were being used for growing cannabis, so contacted the police.

Officers found growing tents, complete with heating, lighting, ventilation and growing chemicals in the two rooms.

In one room was a small tent containing five plants, while the other room had a much larger tent containing 18 plants, 17 of which were viable.

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It was estimated that the crop could be worth between £6,000 and, if sold in individual deals, £18,500, said Mr Windridge.

Lucas, who had ‘a considerable record’ for dishonesty and driving offences, but none for drugs, was not there at the time, but later attended Leamington police station where he admitted responsibility for the operation.

He explained that he had got into difficulty with his benefits, which had caused him to fall into debt, and he had been growing the cannabis with a view to selling it to pay off his debts.

Nick Devine, defending, conceded: “I agree it is a significant role because, as he admitted from the outset, this was to make money.

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“He was not an experienced cannabis grower or supplier.

"He was given the tools and equipment with instructions on how to grow cannabis, so he could clear his debts.”

But Mr Devine added that Lucas was now sorting himself out, and there was a letter from an employer who was taking him on for a trial period.

Sentencing Lucas, Judge Sylvia de Bertodano told him: “The police came to your flat and found you were growing cannabis plants. You were doing it in order to pay off a debt.

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“If you keep doing things like this, you will go to prison. I am not sending you to prison today, but please take this as a warning.”