Hartlepool cannabis farmer caught after his operation flooded
A cannabis farmer who was caught after his operation flooded has been jailed for 27 months.
David Butler was arrested after neighbours in Hartlepool reported flooding in his property to the police.
When officers arrived they could smell cannabis, Teesside Crown Court heard.
“The house was in Park Road,” said Jenny Haigh, prosecuting.
“Mr Butler arrived while the police officers were there.
“He told them he lived in the property before he went inside to turn off the water to stop the flood.
“A police officer asked him if there was cannabis in the property to which he replied there was a ‘big farm’.
The court heard police found 58 plants and 198 cuttings.
“A police drugs expert estimated the value of the drugs to be £58,500,” said Ms Haigh.
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“When Mr Butler was formally interviewed he made no comment.
“Among his previous convictions there are three offences relating to the growing of cannabis.”
Butler, 56, of Lambert Road, Hartlepool, admitted producing a class B drug on September 28, 2017.
David Lamb, defending, said in mitigation; “This offence is of some age, and the delay was not Mr Butler’s fault.
“In the months prior to this offending, a conveyancing Mr Butler was involved in failed which meant he lost a £5,000 deposit.
“He was under significant financial pressure.
“There have been no offences since, and he has obtained work as a lorry driver.”
Judge Deborah Sherwin jailed Butler for 27 months.
The judge told him: “This was a significant grow as you told the police, and you have similar previous convictions.”