Jobless brickie had £11k cannabis crop

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An out-of-work bricklayer grew more than £11,000 worth of cannabis after losing his job, a court heard.

Police discovered 15 plants along with sophisticated heating and lighting equipment when they searched the home of Jason Pickles.

Officers went to Pickles’s home on Wycliffe Street, Ossett, on December 1 last year after receiving information that the class B drug was being cultivated at the property.

Paul Fleming, prosecuting, said Pickles told officers: “I guess I’m going to prison then aren’t I? I don’t even smoke it either.”

Pickles was interviewed and admitted that he had grown the plants in the hope of making some money. He said that he needed money because he had lost his job and had an alcohol problem. He pleaded guilty to producing cannabis.

Martin Sleight, mitigating, said his client had admitted the offence at an early opportunity.

He added that Pickles had managed to obtain another job as a bricklayer since committing the offence and that he had no previous convictions for drug offences.

Pickles was given an 18-month prison sentence, suspended for two years. He was ordered to do 150 hours unpaid work and take part in a 30-day activity programme to address his offending.

Judge Sally Cahill QC said: “Having lost your employment you thought there was a significant way of earning an amount of money to assist with your difficulties. By doing that you have put yourself at risk of going to custody.

“The risk you took was enormous and I hope you do not think the risk is worth taking again in the future.

“It was clearly a well-planned set up.”