Judge jails man over cannabis crop ‘to send message out’

A JUDGE has locked up a cannabis grower, saying the message needed to get out on the streets that such people should expect to be jailed.

Karl Wheatley, who had never been in trouble with the law before, cultivated the plants in a bedroom at his home in Cheviot Street, Derby. 

In court, Wheatley’s lawyer told the judge that if he sent the 24-year-old to prison, he would be sending him to the “university of crime” and that he would lose his job. 

But Judge Andrew Hamilton said: “It seems to me that if people think that they can just grow cannabis and nothing is going to happen to them, the message is not getting out on the streets that those involving themselves in growing cannabis are going to prison.” 
He jailed Wheatley for six months and ordered him to pay £2,000 under the Proceeds of Crime Act. 

Alex Wolfson, prosecuting, told Derby Crown Court that police searched Wheatley’s home on April 19 and found 15 very small plants in a propagator as well as a growing set-up in another room with 24 mature plants. 

Mr Wolfson said there was evidence of a previous crop and when Wheatley, who worked as an insulation installer, was interviewed he admitted supplying the drug. 

He would have spent about £800 on the set-up and made about £1,440 on the first crop and the estimated yield on the second was £5,000 to £10,000, the court heard. 

Wheatley, who had no previous convictions, admitted supplying cannabis and two counts of producing cannabis. 

Noel Philo, for Wheatley, said: “He knew it was wrong but didn’t realise the seriousness of it.” 

Mr Philo said it had not been a commercial set-up. He said no commercial cannabis-grower would attempt to grow the plants from seedlings as Wheatley had done. 

“He was dabbling in it for himself, trying to help out friends – obviously not in a good way. He wants to give up smoking cannabis.” 

Mr Philo said if the judge jailed Wheatley, he would be among robbers and thieves and it would be like the university of crime. 

He said: “I don’t think he would want to know about how to become a burglar or an armed robber.” 

Judge Hamilton said if he did not send people to jail for this it was like he was just “putting a tax on cannabis”. 

He added: “If you don’t go to prison for growing cannabis and selling it, how can you blame anyone for saving themselves money and growing it?” via : Telegraph

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