Man avoids jail for growing cannabis

By Court Reporter Friday 11 January 2013 Updated: 11/01 11:00

A DROITWICH man who grew cannabis with a value of almost £4,000 at his girlfriend’s home has escaped jail despite being subject to a suspended prison sentence at the time of the offence.

Mark Brookes, of Coppice Close, Droitwich, pleaded guilty to producing cannabis at his partner’s home in Nuneaton in Warwickshire.

The town’s magistrates committed his case to Warwick Crown Court as the crime put him in breach of an earlier suspended prison sentence which was given for a drugs offence.

But at the crown court, Brookes, 39, was sentenced to nine months in prison, suspended for two years.

Judge Marten Coates, sentencing Brookes after reading a report on him, also placed him under 12 months supervision and ordered him to take part in a Thinking Skills programme.

Geoffrey Dann, prosecuting, said police had searched Brookes partner’s home in Vernons Lane, Nuneaton in September last year.

Officers found a growing tent in one room containing seven cannabis plants which were being cultivated using high-powered growing lights and an extractor fan.

A small bag of herbal cannabis and some growing instructions were also found as were 23 small cuttings in the garden shed which police believe were being prepared as a follow-on crop.

The court heard how the cannabis was worth just under £4,000 and how Brookes said he was growing it for his own use, rather than buying it, to save money.

Mr Dann told the court the previous eight-month sentence with 150 hours of unpaid work was imposed on Brookes in May 2011 for possessing heroin but was suspended for 18 months and had now expired.

On that occasion the court heard police had raided a flat in Marlborough Road, Nuneaton, in February 2010 after seeing 47 known drug-users visiting the premises.

Officers arrested the tenant, who was later jailed for two-and-a-half years for possessing heroin with intent to supply it, and his wife who was given a suspended sentence for the same offence.

Brookes was also arrested at the flat and was found to have a package of 6.42 grams of heroin between his buttock cheeks, which he said he had bought for himself in Birmingham.

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