Man set up cannabis factory to clear debts - The Rugby Observer

Man set up cannabis factory to clear debts

Rugby Editorial 9th Oct, 2019   0

A CANNABIS factory set up by a man in a bid to clear his debts was found after police responded to a report of a suspected burglary at the premises.

Officers who attended the house in Lawford Road became suspicious – and inside found the illegal crop and paperwork linked to Stephen Coburn.

But he narrowly escaped being jailed after eventually pleading guilty at Warwick Crown Court to producing cannabis, having originally denied the charge.

Coburn, 39, of Acacia Grove, was sentenced to two years in prison suspended for 12 months and was ordered to do 220 hours of unpaid work.

Prosecutor Paul Mytton said that in August last year the police attended a mid-terrace house in Lawford Road at just after midnight following a report of an attempted break-in.

There were crowbar marks on the doorframe, and when officers looked through a window they noticed a vent and ducting which made them suspect cannabis was being grown.

They forced their way in and discovered 64 plants, which could have produced cannabis with an estimated street value of between £10,000 and £42,000.

They also found documentation linking Coburn to the property. As a result he and his wife were arrested, and at an earlier hearing they both denied producing cannabis.

After Coburn had changed his plea to guilty on the basis that it was solely his responsibility, the prosecution offered no evidence against his wife and a not guilty verdict was entered in her case.

Mr Mytton pointed out that Coburn, who had no previous convictions, said he had started the operation a few weeks earlier.

Caroline Harris, defending, said Coburn had suffered an injury at work, and had suffered the financial effects of being on long-term sickness.

His wife also lost her job through redundancy, and they found themselves in a lot of financial difficulty.

“This was a foolish mistake in a desperate situation, and one he is not going to repeat.”

Miss Harris said the couple currently have an estimated £65,000 of debts which they are trying to pay off, and Coburn now has good employment.

Sentencing Coburn, Judge Sylvia de Bertodano told him: “You did not have a drug problem yourself, so you may not be aware of the ruin drugs do to people’s lives, and not just class A drugs. You, as a non-drug-taker doing this, are preying on the weakness and vulnerability of others.

“This was a significant investment you had made in setting this up, and you stood to make a significant profit.”

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