Cannabis farm found by police in Hartlepool loft: Town man jailed for 27 months

A contract worker who kept a cannabis farm in the loft of his Hartlepool home has been jailed.

Thursday, 17th January 2019, 12:45 pm
Updated Friday, 18th January 2019, 12:35 am
The case was heard at Teesside Crown Court.

Cable puller Keith Wallace, 54, claimed that the 37 plants were painkillers for his bad back and knees but a judge at Teesside Crown Court ruled that it was a commercial growth.

Wallace, who worked away during the week, said that he would go back to his digs and smoke three or four joints to relax and to take away the pain.

Wallace, who earned £700 a week, said that it was his second crop of cannabis and that it was all for his own use.

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He claimed that he had never sold or given any away, and he kept dried cannabis from the first unsuccessful crop in a cardboard box to make his joints.

He said: "It relaxes me on a night and helps me to get to sleep.

"I got the information on growing it off the Internet."

Wallace said that he spent about £2,000 over a period of time on collecting the equipment used in the production.

Judge Howard Crowson said that the plants seized in a police raid on Wallace's Hartlepool home on March 20, 2017, would have lasted him for two and a half years.

Wallace had consulted his doctor about his back in 2008 but he had not continued to receive treatment.

A drugs squad officer said in evidence after viewing photographs of the cannabis plants: "Anyone growing that amount of cannabis would be growing well in excess of what he wanted for his own use.

"The average regular user would use about one gram and be getting three to five joints out of it.

"It makes you drowsy, sleepy, hungry and certain users you would expect to be under the influence for hours on end."

He added: "It was a healthy crop with plants beginning to flower and not far away from being able to harvest, probably a week or two, and they had been growing for three months."

Judge Crowson said: "The reality is that on the findings I have made, it is that this is a role in what was an amount of cannabis for commercial use."

Wallace, of West View Road, Hartlepool, who pleaded guilty to production of cannabis, was jailed for 27 months.