8:00pm Monday 11th March 2013
A Keighley man caught red-handed running a commercial cannabis factory has been jailed for two years – after setting up another one while on police bail.
Ian Smith, 39, rented two houses to run his “sophisticated” operation that would have yielded almost £60,000 of the Class B drug, Bradford Crown Court heard yesterday.
The self-employed plumber, of Skipton Road, was arrested carrying neatly prepared boxes of cannabis seedlings from an illegal plant nursery at a house in Halifax Road, Keighley.
Prosecutor Nick Worsley said the factory had “all the hallmarks of a professional grow”.
Smith was carrying boxes containing dozens of small plants to a car.
He claimed he was going to dump them but Mr Worsley said they were being moved on to another cannabis factory.
The 83 plants had a potential street value of £32,000, the court was told.
While on police bail, Smith rented another house, at Prince Street in Haworth, and set up another cannabis farm.
The police were alerted when neighbours complained after his plant-watering system had sprung a leak. The 69 plants seized from that address had a potential value of £26,600.
Smith pleaded guilty to production of cannabis on November 19, 2011, at the Halifax Road address.
He was convicted by a jury of a similar offence at Prince Street, between March 15 and May 15, 2011.
Smith ran a defence that he was coerced into setting up a second factory by drug dealers he owed money to.
His solicitor advocate, Alistair Bateman, said Smith was in work. He had a stable relationship and was determined to change his lifestyle.
He had no previous convictions for drugs offences.
The judge, Recorder Sophie Drake, said Smith played a significant role in a commercial cannabis-growing enterprise.
His offending was seriously aggravated by the fact he set up another cannabis factory while on police bail.
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