Rotherham drug grower loses bid for freedom

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A South Yorkshire man who grew cannabis plants in his attic has been told he cannot complain about his jail term.

Karl Cooke, of Barnsley Road, Wath-upon-Dearne, was jailed for two years at Sheffield Crown Court in October, after admitting production of the drug.

The 42-year-old challenged his sentence at London’s Appeal Court, with his lawyers arguing it was ‘too long’ for his crime, but his appeal was thrown out by senior judges – who said the term was ‘not excessive’.

The court heard police discovered 16 cannabis plants – capable of yielding drugs with a street value of £7,200 each year – in Cooke’s attic in August.

He said the farm had been set up by another man, to whom he gave some of the drugs – but he refused to tell officers who the man was and claimed he used the rest of the Class B drug himself.

The Crown Prosecution Service claiming he was knowingly involved in a commercial operation, but later accepted he may have used half the drugs himself – but would have realised he was involved in a commercial venture if he had ‘applied his mind’.

Cooke’s lawyers argued his sentence was over the top, claiming not enough credit was given for his admission of guilt.

But dismissing his appeal, Mr Justice Wilkie said the judge was ‘entitled’ to pass the sentence, in light of Cooke’s lack of frankness and previous conviction for cultivating cannabis.