Jail for man, 68, who grew drugs in attic

John Lee, jailed for 14 months for setting up a cannabis farm in his attic.
John Lee, jailed for 14 months for setting up a cannabis farm in his attic.
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A PENSIONER who grew £6,000 worth of cannabis in his attic has been locked up for more than a year.

John Lee, aged 68, grew the plants at his home and claimed he used the drug to alleviate back pain.

But Sheffield Crown Court heard Lee, a manual labourer, would have sold the drug if he’d produced surplus.

Fiona Swain, prosecuting, said police searched the house last April and found 15 cannabis plants in the loft.

Lee told police he was a regular cannabis user, spending around £80 a week on the drug and smoking ‘one, possibly two, reefers a night’.

He said it was the first time he’d grown the drug and the equipment needed cost around £1,500.

Ms Swain told the court Lee originally bought six plants, and then a further nine because the original six ‘looked a bit funny’.

The plants would have yielded a total of 600 grams of cannabis, with a street value of £6,000. “That’s far more than would be consistent with personal consumption,” Ms Swain said. “He told the police he owed a lot of money from his previous marriage.”

Rebecca Stevens, defending, said: “He’s worked hard all his life in hard, manual labouring jobs. He’s unable to retire because of the debt he accrued”.

She said Lee had used cannabis for around 20 years, and lived with his wife, his 18-year-old stepdaughter and her child on St Helen’s Avenue, Smithies, Barnsley.

“It’s his income alone that’s supporting the family,” Ms Stevens said.

“He’s made one mistake in his whole life that’s otherwise been characterised with hard work.

“He accepts he would have sold some of the cannabis to cover the costs of setting the enterprise up.”

Jailing him for 14 months, Judge Robert Moore said: “You set up a modest cannabis farm. Only a custodial sentence is justified.”

He admitted producing cannabis and possession with intent to supply and his wife Carol Lee, 55, was given a 12-month conditional discharge for permitting their home to be used in the production of a controlled drug.