Man jailed after police accidentally find 43 cannabis plants in Burnley house

A man has been sentenced for cultivating cannabis after police found 43 plants growing inside his house.

Friday, 7th May 2021, 11:13 am
Updated Friday, 7th May 2021, 11:14 am

The discovery was made after officers attended reports of a suicidal male in the Trinity area of Burnley, but mistakenly entered the wrong address.

Believing that there was someone inside in need of assistance officers forced entry to the address in Piccadilly Road and discovered 43 plants growing in the upstairs bedrooms in a sophisticated set up.

The plants had a potential yield of 2.67kg which had a street value of £21,000 - £33,000 depending on how it was sold.

Jamie Howarth

Police later interviewed a man after discovering a large amount of evidence linking him to the address.

There were recent birthday cards inside addressed to the man, along with recent correspondence, utility bills and letters. There were also photos him inside the address, and his vehicle was parked outside.

Only months prior to the incident the homeowner was stopped by police and provided the address as his home address. It was clear a lot of money had recently been spent refurbishing the property.

Also inside the address were weighing scales, balaclavas and a machete. There was also a child's cot in one of the bedrooms surrounded by cannabis plants, electrical wiring and hydroponic equipment.

Despite all of the evidence pointing towards the homeowner, he denied cultivating cannabis and stated that he had let his friend Jamie Howarth stay at the property who moved into the house during the second half of 2019.

He provided a pre-prepared statement that stated that this was an informal arrangement in which there was no signed agreement and Mr Howarth didn't pay any rent to stay there. He issued 'no comment' to all other questions.

As such Mr Howarth was interviewed where he too provided a pre-prepared statement admitting that he grew the cannabis all on his own without telling anyone else and that all 43 plants were for his own personal use. Mr Howarth then answered no comment to all further questions.

Both males were charged with cultivating cannabis, the homeowner pleaded not guilty and is due to stand trial in 2022, the delay being due to Covid.

Mr Howarth plead guilty and has been sentenced to 12 months in jail.

A police spokesman said: "Burnley and Padiham police remain committed to targeting the issues caused by drug supply in the area.

"If you have any information regarding drug supply or anything that concerns you in your area then you can report this to us via 101.

"If you would like to report something and remain anonymous you can report this to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or via their website http://orlo.uk/eypPr.

"Alternatively you can email [email protected]"