Sheffield drug grower’s jail term cut

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A cannabis grower jailed for handling thousands of pounds’ worth of stolen car parts has had his sentence cut by a third on appeal.

Phillip Andrew Ibbotson, aged 39, a ‘ready handler of stolen goods’, was caught with parts stripped from a £9,000 stolen car, and cannabis plants capable of producing a crop worth more than £5,000.

Ibbotson, of Ferrars Road, Tinsley, Sheffield, was jailed for 27 months at Sheffield Crown Court in October 2013, after he was convicted of cannabis production and admitted handling stolen goods.

But three top judges at London’s Appeal Court upheld a sentence challenge by Ibbotson, saying his jail term was too long. They slashed it to 18 months.

Lord Justice Aikens said police raided Ibbotson’s home in September 2012 and found an engine and other parts from a £9,000 Vauxhall Corsa, which was earlier stolen by someone else. Officers also discovered six cannabis plants in his loft.

Ibbotson said he bought the parts legitimately with a view to selling them on, but refused to give the seller’s details.

He had two previous convictions for handling stolen goods, including one in 2009, which involved a much greater number of vehicles in Rotherham, and resulted in a 30-month jail term, the appeal judge added.

The crown court judge had ruled his punishment should match that which he received in 2009, minus a discount for his guilty plea.

But, on appeal, his barrister Peter Pimm argued the sentence imposed on the father-of-the three was manifestly excessive.

Lord Justice Aikens agreed: “It was too high. It should not have been based upon the sentence imposed for the 2009 offence.

“The sentence is reduced from 27 months to 18 months imprisonment.”