Hartlepool cannabis farmer branched out into his neighbour's property

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

A cannabis farmer who branched out into his neighbour's property has been jailed for two years.

Lee Halse claimed he was growing the 85 plants estimated to be worth £47,000 for personal use.

He withdrew the claim after a judge indicated it would not be believed.

Prosecutor Victoria Lamballe told Teesside Crown Court police executed a search warrant at Halse's house in Chatham Gardens, Dyke House, Hartlepool.

"It is a three-bedroom semi," said Ms Lamballe.

"The main bedroom had been converted for use as a space to cultivate cannabis.

"There were five lights shining on about 30 plants.

"Officers noticed an extension lead running towards an insecure outhouse of the neighbouring property.

"In the outhouse there were plants, seedlings, and more growing equipment.

"The total yield was estimated at 3.3kg, with a street value of £47,000."

Halse, 47, of Chatham Gardens, Hartlepool, admitted producing a class B drug with intent to supply it.

Martin Scarborough, defending, said in mitigation: "Mr Halse did originally claim the cannabis was for his own use.

"He now withdraws that claim, conceding that he would have sold at least some of it to other users.

"Mr Halse worked as a cable layer, but he has been unemployed for some time.

"He has three children, and lives with his partner and the two younger ones who have not yet left home.

"Until this conviction, he had kept out of trouble for more than 20 years."

Judge Howard Crowson jailed Halse for two years.

The judge told him: "It could not possibly be the case you could use that much cannabis, there were 85 plants in total.

"There mist have been an element of growing for financial gain."

The cannabis and growing equipment was confiscated and will be destroyed.