Cannabis grower used government loan to set up marijuana farm
A cannabis grower was given a government crisis loan after his release from jail - which he then used to set up another marijuana farm.
Stephen Duxbury's misuse of taxpayers money came to light when police raided his Merseyside home and found an illicit crop worth at least £6,400.
And there were about six times as many "nursery" plants not yet for ready harvest.
His barrister, Tom Watson, said that he has a heavy cannabis habit and no structure to his life.
"He was on benefits and got a crisis loan which he used to set up this illegal enterprise."
Liverpool Crown Court heard today (Fri) he was jailed for six months for running an earlier cannabis farm and released in October last year but on March 31 police raided the house he was renting in Archer Grove, Parr, St Helens.
A search revealed a total of 123 plants in various locations about the premises being grown using a hydroponic system and a diverted electricity system.
Setting up the system had involved making a hole in a ceiling and in walls and the property owner estimated repairs, replacing carpets, replacing the electricity meter and eradicating the damp smell would cost up to £5,000, said Joanne Maxwell, prosecuting.
Jailing 34-year-old Duxbury to 15 months imprisonment, the judge, Recorder Roderick Carus, QC, said that the six month sentence he received last year should have given him time to reflect and wean himself off drugs. "It was an opportunity to come off drugs and you spurned it."
He described him as "a lonely individual who gets himself a personality - the guy who runs a cannabis farm."
Duxbury, of McCormack Avenue, Parr, St Helens, who is repaying back the crisis loan via deductions from his benefits, pleaded guilty to producing cannabis and criminal damage.
He pleaded guilty on the basis it was only a small scale operation and would have supplied friends who were users to finance the operation and his own habit.
Published: 8:00AM GMT 05 Dec 2009