A South Yorkshire drug-offender has been spared from jail after he was caught producing cannabis

A drug-offender has been spared from prison after he was caught with cannabis seedlings and a cannabis grow at his former home.

Wednesday, 16th June 2021, 9:52 am

Mark Rotchell, aged 30, of Carnforth Road, Monk Bretton, Barnsley, was stopped by police while driving on High Street, at Shafton, Barnsley, because officers could smell cannabis, according to a Sheffield Crown Court hearing.

Neil Coxon, prosecuting, told the hearing on June 15: “The defendant was the driver of the vehicle and two passengers left the scene. The police saw within the vehicle seven bags containing approximately an ounce of cannabis in each.”

Rotchell’s former home at Low Row, Darton, Barnsley, was subsequently searched, according to Mr Coxon, and officers found two bedrooms being used for the production of cannabis.

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Sheffield Crown Court has heard how a drug-offender, who was caught with cannabis, as well as cannabis seedlings and a cannabis grow, has been given a suspended prison sentence.
Sheffield Crown Court has heard how a drug-offender, who was caught with cannabis, as well as cannabis seedlings and a cannabis grow, has been given a suspended prison sentence.

Mr Coxon said police found 20 cannabis seedlings in one bedroom and there were remnants of what appeared to be a cannabis grow in the other bedroom.

Police also discovered messages on Rotchell’s phone, according to Mr Coxon, which were consistent with dealing class B drug ketamine on a small scale.

Rotchell, who has two previous convictions involving dissimilar offences, pleaded guilty to possessing class B drug cannabis with intent to supply, offering to supply ketamine, and to producing cannabis after he was stopped by police in November, 2019.

The defendant told police he was solely responsible for the cannabis in his vehicle and the remnants from the cannabis grow had been from an unsuccessful batch of the drug.

Lauren Hebditch, defending, said Rotchell had been working but he had lost his job and and he had felt under a lot of pressure and he had started smoking cannabis.

But she said he has spent the last 20 months rebuilding his life and he is now drug-free and aims to get back into work.

Judge Graham Reeds QC told Rotchell: “In 2019, you were growing cannabis which I have no doubt you were intending to sell on the streets.”

However, Judge Reeds acknowledged there is a realistic prospect of rehabilitation for Rotchell and he sentenced the defendant to 30 weeks of custody suspended for 18 months with a six-month curfew.

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