A HOUSING tenant who gave his home over to drug dealers for a high-tech cannabis farm worth £52,000 has been jailed for three years.
Jason Hann, 45, sublet his house to criminals who set up the sophisticated growing operation.
Police discovered Hann at the farm in Everett Street, Hartlepool, on October 31, 2012, by chance.
Officers were carrying out routine door-to-door inquiries for a missing child when they found the commercial set up.
Michael Bosomworth, prosecuting at Teesside Crown Court, said: “The officer asked if he could search the house for signs of the child and discovered a cannabis farm of some sophistication. The defendant fled but was chased by the officer and caught.”
Inside the house, police recovered 43 plants at various stages of growth and cannabis drying out that police scientists said had come from another 16 plants.
Mr Bosomworth added: “The annual potential yield from these premises would have been 5.2 kilograms with a value of £52,000.
“It is the Crown’s submission this was a commercial operation.
“It was a relatively sophisticated operation.”
The Crown said that although the cannabis was not his, Hann played a significant role by letting out his house and keeping an eye on the growth.
Hann, of Penrith Street, Hartlepool, was found guilty of production of cannabis after a trial last November.
It was his first conviction for drugs and he had not appeared in court for more than 20 years.
Martin Scarborough, mitigating, said the takeaway delivery driver still insisted he did not know the full scale of what was going on at his house.
He submitted Hann had played a lesser role. and he had been exploited by others.
Mr Scarborough said: “He wasn’t the brains behind this. There are people well above him in this chain.
“It doesn’t seem he has gained financially from this.”
But Judge George Moorhouse said: “From the evidence it is quite clear you let out your premises knowing full well what was going on, namely the production of cannabis.
“That’s a very serious offence – an offence which fully justifies a custodial sentence.
“Taking all matters into account it is three years imprisonment.”