A £30,000 cannabis growing operation was discovered when police carried out a New Year’s Eve raid on a Grantham car repair workshop, Lincoln Crown Court was told today.
Officers found cannabis plants being grown inside three large tents in the upstairs of the premises in East Street, Grantham.
Lisa Hardy, prosecuting, said that there was evidence of previous cannabis grows inside the building. She added: “The value of the potential yield of the plants on this occasion was £30,000.”
Police inquiries led to the arrest of the tenant Alan Jones, 33, of Carpenters Close, Wragby.
Miss Hardy said Jones claimed he had agreed to sublet part of the building to two men. He later discovered the cannabis tents but was threatened when he tried to raise the issue with the men. He claimed the matter was reported to Crime Stoppers.
Miss Hardy said there was no trace of any contact with Crime Stoppers and police inquiries revealed that the owner of the building had not given permission to Jones to sublet.
“Inquiries showed that Mr Jones was in significant debt. It appears what he has done is distance himself from what was going on.
“It is not suggested that he was the mastermind and it is not suggested he was involved in any supply. It is simply that when he realised he closed his eyes to what was happening.”
Jones admitted permitting premises to be used for the production of cannabis between March 2013 and January 1, 2014. He was given a 12 month community order with 200 hours unpaid work.
Judge Michael Heath, passing sentence, told him: “When you became aware of the illegal activity you should have reported it to the police. You turned a blind eye to what was going on and subsequently lied in an attempt to get out of trouble.”
Andrew Vout, defending, said that Jones initially rented the building in an attempt to earn extra money to assist him in paying off his debts.
Mr Vout said: “The venture wasn’t as profitable as he hoped and it merely ended up compounding his financial problems. There was an upstairs unit which was of no use to him and when the offer of a sublet came through he was keen to take it.
“He realised these men were using it for the purposes of growing cannabis and that situation he allowed to continue.”