A man who created a skunk cannabis farm to pay for a holiday has been given a 32 month stay at Her Majesty’s Pleasure.

Police found a farm with nearly £9,000 of cannabis when they raided the home of John Cruikshanks in February.

The 57-year-old, who received £168 a fortnight in incapacity benefits, wanted to top up his state handouts and afford a nice holiday, Burnley Crown Court was told.

The defendant had 28 cannabis plants growing in a bedroom, with a watering, heating and lighting system. 

The crop was not yet ripe, but a forensic scientist estimated the potential yield of the plants would have been 882 grams of skunk cannabis, worth £8,820 on the streets, if sold in one gram deals.

Cruikshanks claimed he only intended to sell drugs to people he knew –  a judge said he must know a lot of people to produce that amount of skunk.

The defendant, of Kirk Road, Accrington, had admitted producing cannabis and possessing the drug with intent to supply. He will not face a proceeds of crime hearing.

Lee Smith, for Cruikshanks, said he made full admissions to the police.

He continued: “He accepts this was a commercial operation. He accepts it was his sole responsibility and he did not seek to blame anyone else.”

“The operation was not the most sophisticated and the defendant was caught straight away.”

Mr Smith told the hearing: “He says he would have been careful not to sell to any strangers and not to children and would have sold drugs to his friends and people he knew. The defendant is on incapacity benefits and would have sold these drugs for personal gain to supplement that and pay for a holiday.”

Mr Smith added Cruikshanks had a record, but nothing for similar offences and had not been before the court for 11 years.

The lawyer added: “He fully recognises the seriousness of the offences.”

Sentencing, Judge Robert Brown said the case was by no means the biggest of its kind, but it was a substantial one.