Grandad jailed for his cannabis factory

Entrance to Mill House industrial Estate, via Mill House Lane which is off Rochdale Road
Entrance to Mill House industrial Estate, via Mill House Lane which is off Rochdale Road

A RESPECTED grandad was in jail today at the start of a two-year sentence for running a drugs factory.

At an age when most grandfathers potter about in their greenhouses, Donald Howarth was carefully tending a £31,000 crop of cannabis.

A court heard the 60-year-old grew 140 plants in six rooms in a unit at Mill House industrial estate, off Rochdale Road, Sowerby Bridge.

Judge Alastair McCallum told the grandfather of four that cannabis farms were “springing up like mushrooms”. And the judge told him he had escaped being sentenced more severely had new rules – not due until Monday – been in place.

The court heard Howarth worked in construction and had no previous convictions.

References were read to the court, telling them his professional reputation proved him to be a valued member of society, the manager ofa construction site in Sowerby Bridge.

Howarth admitted producing a class B drug and extracting electricity.

Bradford Crown Court hwas tolsd he grew the drugs for his family, including his wife, who sat in the public gallery.

Howarth said he had used cannabis since his teens and had originally grown it in his cellar before moving to bigger premises.

Judge McCallum said: “The number of people now starting up cannabis farms are growing at an alarming rate.

“I regularly see cannabis farms springing up like mushrooms. In your case I found that you were growing this on a significant and large basis.” Expert evidence said only 90 of the 140 plants would have been able to be successfully harvested.

The court heart he also diverted more than £9,000 of electricity.

He was ordered to repay that to N-Power and another £31,500.

“It’s a great pity you got yourself involved in this sort of crime,” Judge McCallum told Howarth, of Huddersfield..