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Cannabis farmer jailed

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A desperate drug addict who allowed a cannabis farm to be set up at his rented house in Elland has been jailed.

Police discovered the sophisticated growing operation at a terraced property on Elizabeth Street last October and former tenant Kevin Webster was locked up over his role in the offence.

Father-of-four Webster, 35, was sentenced to nine months in prison after he admitted producing cannabis, but Judge Neil Davey QC also imposed a consecutive nine-month sentence in relation to handling thousands of pounds worth of stolen jewellery from two house burglaries in Siddal, Halifax.

Prosecutor John Bull told Bradford Crown Court how Webster, who had nearly 70 offences on his criminal record, was caught pawning some of the jewellery after the victims of the second burglary had themselves alerted staff at local shops.

Mr Bull said a cashier at one of the shops contacted the police when he recognised some of the jewellery in Webster’s possession as matching the description given by the householders.

The court heard that the jewellery stolen in the two burglaries was worth more than £10,000, but the arrest of Webster meant that around half of it had been recovered.

Mr Bull said the raid on Webster’s rented home had led to the discovery of 22 cannabis plants and the rooms had been equipped with lighting, ventilation ducting, transformers and fans.

Barrister Stephen Wood, for Webster, said he had been used by others to ‘’put his head above the parapet’’ and he was prepared to take the risk for very modest rewards.

‘’He was known to people who were prepared to use him and he was perhaps prepared to be used to fund his own addiction,’’ conceded Mr Wood.

Mr Wood suggested that the cannabis growing offence had been committed under a degree of compulsion and he urged Judge Davey to consider suspending the inevitable prison sentence.

He submitted that Webster had been in custody on remand since the beginning of November and had already served the equivalent of a six-month jail term.

But Judge Davey said Webster had been in charge of a substantial cannabis farm which amounted to a sophisticated and professional set up.

The judge said the handling offences, which Webster had admitted, also involved high-value jewellery and he must have been close to the burglars who stole the items.

Webster, who will serve half of his 18-month sentence, also pleaded guilty to further offences of fraud, possession of cannabis and possession of articles for use in fraud, but the judge imposed no separate penalty for those matters.

 
 
 

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