Sheffield football ref jailed for growing drugs

COURT: Court Case
COURT: Court Case
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A Sheffield judge has issued a fresh warning to people caught growing cannabis in their homes: “You will go to prison.”

Judge Roger Keen QC was speaking out at Sheffield Crown Court as he jailed a 58-year-old football referee and businessman for 10 months after he was caught with £14,400 worth of drugs.

Roger Crabtree’s relatives wept in the public gallery as he was sent down.

Stephanie Hollis, prosecuting, said police attended his home on Lindsay Avenue, Parson Cross, because of reports cannabis was being grown in the empty property next door.

“They wanted to gain access to this defendant’s loft to see through. He informed them he was growing the cannabis himself,” she said.

Miss Hollis said officers found six plants, lights, a timer and sealed bags containing skunk cannabis.

The potential yield from the haul was estimated at £14,400, she said.

Crabtree told police he smoked around three joints a day and had spent £850 on equipment.

Andrew Swaby, defending Crabtree, said: “This defendant is a hard working man who runs two sandwich shops and is heavily involved in local football. He’s been a referee for many years.”

Urging the judge to suspend the sentence, Mr Swaby said Crabtree was given painkillers for his knees which he had been taking for a number of years.

But he said he had been told by his GP to stop taking them because they caused angina, so he started to use cannabis.

Mr Swaby said Crabtree had been naive and was a hardworking man who was heavily involved in coaching and refereeing local football.

He added: “He is helpful, honest and trustworthy.”

Jailing him, Judge Keen said: “You must have read that people who grow cannabis in their homes will go to prison, not simply to punish them but to deter others from doing the same. That being the basis of sentencing policy, it would make a nonsense of it if I suspended your sentence.”