Drug factory tenants risk losing homes

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TWO council tenants prosecuted for turning their homes into drugs factories have been spared eviction but were warned they will be kicked out if they offend again.

Richard Weldon, aged 45, of Naylor Grove, Oughtibridge, was convicted of producing cannabis after police raided his home in November, Sheffield county Court heard.

Judge Graham Robinson was told a significant number of marijuana plants were cultivated using a sophisticated hydroponics system of light, heat and ventilation.

A large hole had been made in the ceiling to accommodate the ventilation system.

In May, Weldon was convicted of production of cannabis and sentenced to 30 weeks’ imprisonment.

Sheffield Council and Sheffield Homes issued possession proceedings for breach of tenancy.

At the county court hearing, Weldon admitted breaching his tenancy.

Judge Robinson said he had ‘no hesitation’ in granting a possession order and said the court took a very serious view of social housing being used for the growing of illegal drugs.

However, he agreed to allow Weldon to stay in the property, subject to a suspended possession order which will last for 18 months.

If Weldon breaches the order within that time, he can be evicted by court bailiffs.

Judge Robinson gave the same warning to Arnold Crookes, also aged 45, of Masters Road, Parson Cross.

He was convicted of production of cannabis at his home using hydroponics equipment, after a police raid in February. Crookes was found with a small amount of the drug, and amphetamines.

Crookes was convicted in April of production of cannabis and possession of cannabis and amphetamines. He was given a suspended prison sentence at Sheffield Crown Court, with an additional community penalty.

Judge Robinson issueda possession order against Crookes, suspended for 12 months and issued the same warning as to Weldon.

■ A THIRD tenant was taken to Sheffield County Court where she was warned she faces a possible prison sentence if she allows a convicted drug dealer to live at, or visit, her property.

Amanda Eyre’s partner Nathan Tomlinson was caught growing cannabis in her home at Errington Avenue, Arbourthorne, in June 2009.

Eyre was allowed to keep her home, where she lives with her young child, on condition she didn’t commit any illegal activity or breach her tenancy conditions.

But in February police raided again and found Tomlinson had heroin and cocaine. He was convicted of possession with intent to supply and jailed.

Sheffield Council took Eyre back to court for possession of her property. She was allowed to stay after giving the court an undertaking she would not allow Tomlinson to visit again.

She was warned that, if she did allow Tomlinson in, she could be imprisoned.