Rotherham dad grew cannabis after running up debts

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A South Yorkshire man turned to growing cannabis when he ran into financial difficulties, a court heard.

Richard Nettleship, aged 47, worked up to 80 hours a week and even did other odd jobs to support his family.

“He had gone through a very difficult period and ran up debts,” said Andrew Swaby, defending. “He was persuaded by a friend to grow cannabis.”

Police searched his three-bedroom semi on Brinsworth, Rotherham, and Nettleship took them to an outbuilding at the rear of his home which was kitted out with a hydroponic growing system for cannabis.

There was reflective sheeting, high intensity lighting units, an extraction system, water butts and plant feed, said prosecutor Stephanie Hollis.

Officers found 29 plants – the tallest two yielded 100 grammes each, which would have fetched £1,260 on the streets.

Nettleship told police he was in debt and bought two plants from a workmate and borrowed equipment. He spent £2,000 on kitting the room out.

His first attempt at growing plants failed, his second try yielded half a dozen plants which each produced cannabis worth £80 and the latest attempt was his third.

Nettleship, who has a wife and a son at university, admitted producing cannabis at Sheffield Crown Court.

Mr Swaby said he had now sought help with his debt management. “He feels he has let his family down and is not proud of his actions,” he said.

The judge Recorder Keith Miller said he would not send him to jail immediately because of the impact upon his family.

Nettleship was given an eight-month jail term suspended for two years and ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid community work.