A 'gardener' grew a £40,000 cannabis farm and then called the police himself to own up to his crime.
Anthony McCombs, 33, told officers he was in £30,000 debt to drug dealers and had been offered a roof over his head on the understanding that he grew cannabis at the property in Great Harwood . He had also expected to be paid £15,000 for his efforts at the end of a two-year period.
Burnley Crown Court heard that McCombs called the police and asked them to meet him at the car park of a Morrisons in Blackburn on May 27.
There he told officers he was growing cannabis plants at a house on Lewis Street, because he was in debt to men who had threatened to kill him when he admitted he no longer wanted to continue growing the drug.
McCombs went with police to the house but found the locks had been changed. When they entered the property they found 100 cannabis plants with an estimated street value of £40,000.
McCombs, of no fixed abode, pleaded guilty to cannabis production.
The court heard that he had been at a ‘low ebb’ and ‘hopelessly’ addicted to other substances at the time of the offence.
Miss Wright, defending, said he had been offered secure accommodation and was asked to carry out a ‘gardening role’ in exchange.
She said McCombs, who suffers from low mood, was not paid anything for his services and played no role in the supply chain. The barrister added he had shown genuine remorse and there is no evidence the police would have any idea about the cannabis operation if McCombs had not told them about it.
McCombs was jailed for 22 weeks by Judge Graham Knowles QC who said that, aside from this offence, the defendant’s criminal record had ‘ground to a halt’ around 10 years ago.
He said: “You have had a hard life and you were homeless and vulnerable at the time you were ensnared into this operation.
“A lot of vulnerable people are preyed upon by organised criminals.”
He added: “It’s a rare thing to speak out and explain what was done.”