Cannabis was grown to pay off debts

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A SUPERMARKET worker allowed cannabis plants worth up to £28,000 to be grown in her house to settle debts.

Police discovered 72 plants as well as numerous items of specialist equipment when they raided the home of Zoe Angus, in Arkley Crescent, Hartlepool, last year.

Angus, 21, accepted being part of a “joint operation” and pleaded guilty to production of a controlled drug of Class B at Teesside Crown Court yesterday.

But the court heard how Angus was “pressured” in to allowing her home to be taken over and used as part of a “sophisticated set up.”

Angus, who now lives in Bridgepool Close, Hartlepool, earns £370 a month working at Asda and found herself in debt due to living costs.

When police raided her property in June last year they discovered plants growing in two main bedrooms as well as fans, ventilation tubes, plant food, bags and other specialist equipment.

Olivia Checa-Dover, prosecuting, told the court how the crop discovered last year would have been ready for harvest as skunk cannabis six weeks later with huge potential street value of up to £28,000.

She said: “Police searched the house on June 29 last year, and the defendant was the sole tenant.”

Martin Scarborough, mitigating, said while Angus was part of a joint operation, she did not accept tending to the plants, using the equipment or supplying the drugs.

He added: “She owed some money to a male and somehow as a way of repaying that became part of this.

“Due to general living costs she ended up owing a significant amount of money.”

Angus was given an eight months prison sentence, suspended for two years.

Judge Peter Armstrong said: “You are 21 years of age with no previous convictions yet here you are in crown court because you got involved with growing cannabis, a crime which usually ends up with a prison sentence.

“Someone was going to make money out of this and quite a lot of money, and that is why it is such a serious matter.

“I think you realise how foolish you were to get involved with this, you borrowed money from someone who has then put pressure on you.

“What you were hoping to get out of this was your debts paid off, whether that has happened I don’t know.”

Angus was also slapped with a 12-month supervision order.