Prison for man who stored £17,500 of cannabis in loft

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A MAN who stored £17,500 worth of cannabis in his loft to pay off a debt has been jailed.

Andrew Dawson, 49, of Whinney Hill Park, Brighouse, said he allowed 2.48kg of cannabis to be dried in his home after borrowing £3,000 from a drug dealer.

Dawson said that the money was lent to him last year to help cover a tax bill for his gardening business.

He told Bradford Crown Court at that time he had around £20,000 of debt.

Police attended his home address on September 22, 2011.

They searched the property and found nearly 2.5kgs of cannabis hanging in the loft.

The set up included a ventilation system to dry the Class B drug.

Dawson initially told police he was just storing the drug but His Honour Judge Alistair McCallum highlighted that drying is a crucial part of the process of preparing the drug for sale.

The judge said: “He has gone beyond the stage of a normal custodian who just hides a bag under his bed and then hands them back over.”

He went on to say that by allowing the act of drying to take place Dawson was lucky to have escaped a charge of production of a Class B drug – which carries a maximum 14 year sentence.

Dawson actually pleaded guilty to one count of supplying a controlled drug of Class B.

He told the court he had been smoking cannabis for 25 to 30 years.

He said he used to smoke about £20 worth a day but now only has the odd joint before bed.

Jayne Beckett, defending, said Dawson had seen no way out of the debt he was in and thought the only option to clear the debt was to allow his loft to be used.

She said his business was failing and could be declared bankrupt by the end of the month.

“He is struggling to pay his mortgage,” she said.

“He is a man who has struggled for a long time with a significant drug addiction.

Judge McCallum, in his last case before retiring, sentenced Dawson to 13 months in prison.