Couple funded luxury lifestyle from cannabis farm hidden under patio

Christopher Goodwin
Christopher Goodwin

A couple funded a luxury lifestyle from the proceeds of a cannabis farm hidden beneath the patio of their comfortable suburban family home, a court heard.

Police found thousands of pounds worth of original artwork, expensive furniture, an Audi A5 with a personalised number plate and evidence of trips to Disneyland and Tenerife when they executed a search warrant at the home of Christopher and Rachel Goodwin.

Officers also found 29 cannabis plants hidden in a converted cellar beneath a raised patio of the modern detached property on Mill Lane, South Elmsall, in February last year.

Leeds Crown Court heard the plants were capable of producing £8,485 of the class B drug.

Investigators analysed the couple’s bank, credit card and store card accounts and found £240,000 worth of movement between them over a six-year period

Anthony Moore, prosecuting, said Rachel, 44, a Lloyds TSB bank worker and Christopher, 45, a landscape gardener, had a legitimate income of just £26,000 a year.

Mr Moore described the family home as being in ‘good condition’ with a new kitchen and an extension.

He said: “Other items found at the property demonstrated a comfortable lifestyle.”

They included original artwork worth £23,000, an Audi A5 worth £26,000, a bicycle worth £4,300 and a TV cabinet worth £3,000.

Christopher Goodwin was arrested and initially claimed he had grown the cannabis for himself and his friends.

Rachel claimed the money that had passed through the couple’s accounts had been cash her husband had received for doing extra work at weekends.

Christopher pleaded guilty to producing cannabis and possessing criminal property. Rachel pleaded guilty to possession of criminal property.

The court heard Christopher received a police caution for growing cannabis in 2011.

Michael Greenhalgh, for Christopher, said his client had worked as a landscape gardener for 23 years and was well regarded by his employer.

Mr Greenhalgh said Christopher was keen to provide for his wife and their two children.

He accepted that he would be facing a prison sentence.

Marcus Waite, for Rachel, said she would have to find a new job and support the family while her husband was in custody.

Christopher was jailed for 20 months.

Rachel was made the subject of a 12 month community order and told to do 150 hours unpaid work.

Recorder Richard Wright, QC, told Christopher: “In 2011 you were given a clear warning when you were apprehended by the police for growing cannabis.

“You chose to ignore that warning because of the good life that growing and selling cannabis enabled you to lead.

“Expensive holidays, a car and expensive possessions was all too tempting.

“You have been able to lead a much more luxurious life than you would have led through legitimate hard work.

“You took significant risks and you placed your family at significant risk when you chose to grow cannabis in the basement.

“You should stop and think about the example that you are setting to them.

“You were bringing them up in a home that was used for a criminal enterprise.”

Recorder Wright told Rachel: “Whatever you knew about your husband’s activities, you knew that the lifestyle he was providing for you and your family was not through legitimate hard work. You turned a blind eye to it”