A Brierfield man has been jailed for 20 months after cultivating a cannabis crop with a street value of £25,000.
Jay Dwyer (40), of Livingstone Walk, Brierfield, was arrested by police on patrol in Brierfield in March.
Burnley Crown Court heard how a strong smell of cannabis was in the air in Limefield Avenue and, when police knocked on the door of number five, they were called in by Dwyer.
David Macro (prosecuting) said Dwyer clearly had not been anticipating the police as he was found smoking cannabis in the front room.
A friend was also smoking cannabis in the house and police discovered 64 plants, almost harvest ready, and 10 600-watt heating lamps in the cellar. Mr Macro said 2.47kg of cannabis could be taken from the plants with a street value of £24,770.
Mr Macro continued saying Dwyer admitted growing the cannabis for a period of 11 weeks. He also admitted bypassing the electricity meter.
This, according to Dwyer, was to pay back cocaine dealers who were threatening him and his family for debts of £5,000 which had amounted a number of years earlier.
Mr Macro said Dwyer had planned to sell the cannabis in a “job lot”. A request for the cannabis to be confiscated and destroyed and the equipment to be seized was granted.
Richard Taylor (defending) said Dwyer had headed north back to Brierfield from Birmingham, where he had been living, with “good intentions”.
However, Mr Taylor said these intentions were “unfortunately intercepted” by dealers demanding debts and Dwyer was told if he grew the plants and paid the money it “would be the end of the matter”. Mr Taylor asked for a suspended sentence as an act of mercy.
However, Recorder Andrew Edis QC said: “The quantity and sophistication of your operation was substantial.”
On the number of plants Dwyer was growing, the amount of cannabis which could be harvested and the street value , Recorder Edis QC added: “That’s a major operation which requires a certain amount of skill and financial backing.
“You were the only person running and managing this. That means you had a significant role in the operation.”
Dwyer was also ordered to pay a £120 victim surcharge.