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Cannabis farm raid sees ‘naive’ dad-to-be jailed

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: May 12, 2013

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A 23-YEAR-OLD is set to miss the birth of his first child after being jailed for 28 months for setting up a cannabis farm in his rented home.

A total of 81 plants were growing and could have produced a crop worth up to £44,500 from the three-bedroom home on Main Street, Newhall.

David Lear, 23, of Becket Close, Burton admitted production of a class B drug which was found during a police raid on November 9 last year.

David Outterside, prosecuting, told Derby Crown Court that estate agents rented out the home on September 21 last year.

“The estate agent said he and another man – almost certainly the partner in the operation – looked round the house together and took up the tenancy,” he said.

When police raided the house they found cannabis in locked rooms which Lear claimed were used by a lodger.

Lear made a phone call claiming it was to the lodger, but officers became suspicious and heard a voice on the line saying ‘don’t tell them anything’.

When a phone was analysed, officers found fresh evidence.

“There were a number of salient messages concerning the growing of cannabis and someone called Simon,” said Mr Outterside.

Officers found healthy plants under fluorescent lighting hanging from the roof during the raid.

A watering system was set up and an expert calculated the crop could have made between £14,000 and £44,500, added Mr Outterside.

Justin Ablott, defending, said: “What is happening here is that this young man is being used to insulate someone else from risk.

“He had a fairly significant debt from someone who offered a way to try and attend to that debt.

“In broad terms, this was not his operation, which he did not have the wherewithal or the capacity to organise.

“He is 23 but a young 23, and perhaps a little naive.”

Mr Ablott said Lear was ‘terrified’ of the prospect of prison and his partner is due to give birth to their first child in November.

However, Judge David Fletcher said a ‘message’ had to be sent out and sentenced Lear to 28 months in jail.

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