A LUCRATIVE cannabis farm in an ‘uninhabitable’ Rugby council flat has earned its owner two years in jail.
Malkesh Lad was told by a judge at Coventry Crown Court the farm – capable of producing thousands of pounds from every crop – was a “gross misuse of a council flat”.
He had pleaded guilty to producing cannabis at the flat in Green Court, Biart Place, in December last year on the basis it was all for his own use.
That was rejected by the prosecution – and when the case was listed for a ‘trial of issue’ at Coventry Crown Court he admitted he was going to supply cannabis for financial gain.
Lad, 28, now of Wood Street, was jailed by Judge Philip Gregory who said it was ‘a serious offence of its type.’
Prosecutor Laura Culley said that when the police raided the flat they found it ‘uninhabitable,’ and was mainly being used to grow cannabis.
They found 25 plants, each of which could have produced 40 grams of cannabis – making the crop worth up to £10,000.
Miss Culley said: “It was clearly in excess of what he could have used on his own.”
Following his arrest, Lad said it had been his idea to set up the system.
He said he watered the plants himself and was at the flat, to which his council tax benefit payments were sent, at least four days a week.
Arvind Sharma, defending, pointed out that a report by an expert from the charity Release indicated that it had not been a sophisticated set-up.
But that was rejected by the judge, who said: “It could be more sophisticated, because it could have an automated watering system. But it didn’t need it because it had Mr Lad. It was plainly a commercial set-up.”
Mr Sharma conceded: “Mr Lad accepts he would have got some financial benefit.
“He says the initial idea was to set it up for his own use. He had no idea how successful it would be.
“He concedes he would have grown more than he needed, and would have found some way of selling it.”
Jailing Lad, Judge Gregory told him: “You were fortunate enough to be provided with a council flat.
“Rather than utilise it as a place to live, you decided to set up a system for growing cannabis.
“You were plainly going to sell on the bulk of the crop, and would have made thousands of pounds.
“I accept there may be more sophisticated set-ups, but this was an organised and well thought-out scheme.
“This was serious offending, quite apart from the gross misuse of a council flat, which has an effect on the neighbours and on the wider community.”