JAILED football manager Kenny Scragg admitted setting up a cannabis factory was the "biggest mistake of his life".
The father-of-nine is starting a 12-month prison sentence after allowing his business unit to be converted into a cannabis factory.
The 49-year-old bankrupt watered the cannabis plants because he needed to repay some of his debts.
But Scragg – who manages the Leek-based Blue Mugge football team – bitterly regrets helping to set up the cannabis factory.
Speaking ahead of yesterday's sentence, Scragg told The Sentinel: "I had the chance to say 'no' but I made the wrong decision.
"It was a big mistake. There are times in life when you wish you could turn the clock back and this is one of those.
"I'm no different to anyone else. I've made a mistake and now I must pay for it.
"I was struggling financially but that is no excuse."
Scragg, of Railway Cottages, Leek Junction, Leek, admitted producing cannabis in units at the town's Churnet Works.
Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court heard police raided the Macclesfield Road unit on November 10 last year.
Paul Spratt, prosecuting, said: "Police found 22 cannabis plants which had a potential yield of 147 ounces of cannabis, with a street value of between £17,640 and £23,885.
"His finances dictated he needed some income to pay for the premises and because he had been made bankrupt."
Scragg rented one of the Churnet Works units for sandblasting furniture.
But the court heard Scragg rented out the other unit at the request of two men he owed money to.
Scragg told police he borrowed £1,100 from the men on the condition he would water cannabis plants for them and every week £150 would be knocked off his debt.
Scragg admitted being involved in setting up the growing operation and watered the plants daily.
Stephen Oldham, defending, said: "Circumstances placed him in difficult financial straits and he took some foolish decisions.
"He was rather naive in getting involved in this sort of enterprise."
Judge Granville Styler told Scragg he would have been jailed for at least two years if the street value of the crop had been greater.
He said: "You knew the score. A lot of cannabis factories have been found across North Staffordshire. You knew what you were getting into."
By emma king
24 dec 2010
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