1st Jun, 2020

Cannabis smell in local shop led police to woman's £60,000 growing operation

THE SMELL of cannabis in a local convenience store led police to a woman who grew the drug to ease her pain, after spending years in agony following an accident at a car plant where she worked.

Green-fingered Kay Finch was so successful that the plants grew ‘like triffids’ in two rooms at her home, and she ended up with plants with a potential street value of more than £60,000.

But her operation was discovered because the ventilation system she cut into the roof space ended up pumping the fumes into a neighbouring convenience store.

And at Warwick Crown Court, Finch, 63, of Rugby Road, Binley Woods, was given a community order with a rehabilitation requirement for 30 days after she had admitted producing cannabis.

The court heard she entered her plea on the basis that she was growing the crop only for her own use – which was accepted following an earlier hearing in the magistrates’ court.

Prosecutor William Douglas-Jones said that in March police officers went into the One Stop store in Rugby Road, where there was a strong smell of cannabis.

They were told the smell was coming from Finch’s home at the rear of the store.

When she answered the door and was asked about it, she invited them in.

They found that two bedrooms had been converted – the first containing 28 small plants and a tray of ‘saplings’, and the second containing 41 larger plants with a ventilation system cut into the roof space which was blowing the smell into the shop.

The crops would have overlapped to provide a constant supply for Finch, who explained she was growing it for her own use because of health issues.

But Judge Andrew Lockhart QC observed: “If you grow a large amount like this, the danger is that that other people can come and take it. Just because a person isn’t supplying, does not make it not a serious offence.”

Mr Douglas-Jones added that there were a total of 110 plants with a potential yield of 220 ounces, worth up to £62,000.

David Everett, defending, said Finch worked on the Peugeot production line for 11 years until she had an accident in which she was crushed between a vehicle and the track, as a result of which she was off work for four years and has been left in constant pain.

She then returned to work in the catering industry before retiring four years ago, and Mr Everett said that, other than her cannabis use, she was someone of good standing in the community.

“One thing she did not like was going into less than good areas of Coventry to buy the drug, so decided a little over two years ago to try growing her own.

“She is green-fingered and, as she said, they grew like triffids. She said she had intended to destroy the plants in room one and just keep the ones in room two which were doing better.”

Sentencing Finch, Judge Lockhart told her: “You have led a good life to the age of 63, and have been a contributor even after you suffered an injury.

“But you chose to produce a very large quantity of cannabis. There was a high potential yield here, but driving the sentence down are the reasons you did it, that you are a woman of previous good character, and you have told the truth throughout.

“You were finding your retirement dogged by medical difficulties, but there are forms of relieving pain through proper medical prescriptions.”

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