Hartlepool man allowed house to be used as cannabis farm

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A family man allowed a house he rented to be used as a cannabis farm.

Alan McCormack was arrested after the letting agent contacted the police, Teesside Crown Court heard.

“Mr McCormack was working away in London at the time,” said Jenny Haigh, prosecuting.

“He was not living in the house, but planned to move into it.

“The letting agent noticed some plants and growing equipment during a routine inspection visit.

“Police were called and found a professional growing operation, and 46 mature plants.

“On a three crops a year cycle, it is estimated it could have produced cannabis with a street value of £60,000 each year.”

McCormack, 34, of Bruntoft Road, Hartlepool, admitted producing a Class B drug at Stephen Street, Hartlepool, in August of this year.

Martin Scarborough, defending, said in mitigation: “Mr McCormack had a drugs debt from his time as a cocaine user.

“He was told this would be expunged if he allowed the house to be used for the grow.

“Since serving a term of imprisonment for cocaine supply, he has worked hard at various jobs, including as an HGV driver.

“He has the support of his partner, who is 14 weeks pregnant with his second child.

“Suspending the inevitable prison sentence would allow him to continue working to support his family.”

Judge Howard Crowson sentenced McCormack to 22 months in prison, suspended for 18 months, 150 hours of community work, and ordered him to pay £250 costs.

The judge told McCormack: “The letting agent quite properly reported what you were up to, which enabled the police to take a cannabis farm out of circulation.

“The equipment was designed to be used time and time again, and would have made someone a lot of money.

“You have been fortunate not to go to prison today, but you know what will happen if you offend again.”

The judge ordered the confiscation and destruction of the cannabis and growing equipment.