Hartlepool cannabis grower led police straight to his door after he called them to report a burglary

A hapless cannabis user led police to find his own sophisticated home growing operation after he called them to report a suspected burglary.

Monday, 22nd March 2021, 4:59 pm
Updated Monday, 22nd March 2021, 5:32 pm

Phillip Harrison feared someone was trying to break into his home in Allerton Close, Hartlepool, and rang the police.

But it seems he forgot about 10 mature cannabis plants he was growing in an upstairs bedroom complete with tent, heat lamps and extractor fans.

Teesside Crown Court heard the plants which Harrison, 47, said were for his own use were expected to produce about £5,000 worth of cannabis.

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The case was heard at Teesside Crown Court.
The case was heard at Teesside Crown Court.

He risked being sent to prison as he was already on a suspended sentence given by the court in January last year for handling stolen goods.

Detailing the cannabis discovery on November 6 last year, prosecutor Kate Barnes said: “Officers attended Allerton Close in Hartlepool after receiving a call from the defendant himself about an alleged burglary taking place at his home address.”

But the court heard as soon as they went inside they smelled the illegal crop.

Ms Barnes added: “The front bedroom had been entirely converted to produce the cannabis.

"There was one large tent with a reflective inner surface. The windows had been screened to prevent the growing lights from being seen from outside.

“There were three growing lamps, reflectors and such like set up inside the tent.”

An air extraction system led from the tent to the loft, tin foil covered the walls and the property’s electricity meter had been bypassed.

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Judge Jonathan Carroll said it was “a pretty sophisticated set up” for a home operation, adding the equipment could have been used for further growths.

Harrison told police he was a regular cannabis user and grew the plants from seed to save himself money.

He admitted a charge of production of a class B drug.

Kelleigh Lodge, defending, said in mitigation: "He’s well aware of how serious his offending was.”

She said Harrison could lose his home if he were jailed and has mental health issues.

Judge Carroll sentenced him to a two-month jail term, which was suspended for 12 months, plus 10 rehabilitation activity days and a four-month curfew between 8pm-8am.

Addressing Harrison’s mental health, Judge Carroll said: “There’s no upside for you using or growing cannabis and you will be well shot of it.”

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