AN EX-SERVICEMAN who defrauded banks out of thousands of pounds so he could use the cash to set up a sophisticated cannabis factory has been locked up for seven years.
Gary Tomney, aged 43, and his co-accused Vicky Cox defrauded banks in Rotherham out of thousands of pounds then bought properties which they mortgaged and remortgaged to fund production of the drug.
When one property in Wright Street, Dinnington was raided, police found three growing rooms with plants in at least two different stages of growth, high intensity lighting, a ventilation system, reflective sheeting and ‘shrouding’ over the windows.
Sheffield Crown Court heard there were enough plants to produce a crop with an estimated street value of over £30,000.
Sentencing ex-naval officer Tomney, of Eastern Avenue, Dinnington, Rotherham, Judge Peter Kelson QC said he was the ‘manager, overseer, supervisor and property provider’.
He said: “I do bear in mind the many references to the fact you were a former serviceman. But you have a criminal record that should not be passed over lightly.”
Gordon Stables, defending said he’d had more than his fair share of tragedy.
He said: “His fiancee currently has cancer. The defendant’s father is disabled and his mother has a particularly debilitating illness.”
Tomney was jailed for six years for producing cannabis and 12 months for fraud.
The court heard Cox, 34, of Tennyston Street, Alfreton, Derbyshire, was the ‘facilitator’.
She put her name on the fake mortgage agreements taken out.
Handing her a 12 month jail term, suspended for two years, the judge said: “These properties were all bought by you, basically by falsifying your income.”
A third defendant, Leon Sulley, 32, of Brailsford Road, Ecclesfield, was jailed for four years for providing and maintaining the hydroponic system.
The judge said: “Deterrent sentences must be imposed for people who grow cannabis commercially on this scale.”
Last month, The Recorder of Sheffield, Alan Goldsack QC, warned those caught growing cannabis would be sent to jail, to deter others.
The judge said he was jailing cannabis producers in his court almost every day.