Hartlepool cousins caught with £10,000 cannabis farm after landlord smelled crop

Teesside Crown Court heard the pair were caught with 23 large plants worth nearly �10,000.
Teesside Crown Court heard the pair were caught with 23 large plants worth nearly �10,000.

Two men who grew cannabis in a Hartlepool town centre flat were jailed yesterday after the landlord smelled the crop.

Cousins Mark Robbins, 42, and Sean Keenan, 29, were caught with 23 large plants worth nearly £10,000, according to a police expert.

The landlord went to police after he noticed the high electricity bill and he sniffed the pungent aroma of the Class B drug seeping through the door.

Prosecutor Jenny Haigh told Teesside Crown Court that the police went around the same day with a search warrant on October 27, 2015.

She said that it was a commercial enterprise capable of producing 989 grammes with a value of £9,890.

Keenan made full and frank admissions from the outset, and after initial denials Robbins said that he was involved in setting it up.

Robbins had 23 convictions for 27 offences including drugs. His last one was for conspiracy to supply Class A drugs.

Keenan had a previous convictions for running three separate drugs farms in one property in 2009.

Martin Scarborough, defending Robbins, said that his motivation for becoming involved with the drugs farm in Elwick Road, Hartlepool, was to help his cousin Keenan. He said that Robbins had a problem with heroin, and he was now working and supported by his partner who was in court.

Mr Scarborough said that he accepted that the case passed the custody level but he asked for Robbins to be given a community sentence with unpaid work.

Nigel Soppitt, defending Keenan, said that he had been trouble-free since 2010 after serving a community order for his previous cannabis farm.

He said that Keenan had a drugs debt which he wanted to pay off. He was a qualified welder but unable to work as he was looking after his father, who was sick at home on oxygen 15 hours a day.

Mr Soppitt added: “He has learned his lesson.

“He has only been in trouble twice in his life and perhaps this is the last time.”

Judge Shaun Morris told the pair that cannabis was included in the misery of drug use.

The judge said: “Cannabis, like all the drugs that are on the streets of Britain, is a menace. It is not something that is harmless. That would have gone out onto the street, maybe to people who are still at school, heaven knows what would have happened. People who end up with needles in their arms start off with cannabis.”

Keenan, of Catcote Road, Hartlepool, was jailed for 13 months, and Robbins, of Studley Road, Hartlepool, was jailed for nine months after they pleaded guilty to production of a Class B drug.