St Helens man jailed for £17,000 cannabis farm

Stuart Griffiths
Stuart Griffiths
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A man has been jailed after police found a cannabis farm in his rented home in Newton-le-Willows.

Stuart Griffiths was also found in possession of a stun gun disguised as torch hidden in a second property.

He was jailed for two years and nine at Liverpool Crown Court for allowing a premises to be used to produce cannabis.

Griffiths’ cannabis farm was discovered after his landlord went to the property in Mercer Street, Newton-le-Willows, last December to chase up unpaid rent.

Griffiths was not at home and when the landlord went in they heard a suspicious noise upstairs and went to investigate.

They then discovered a cannabis farm with an annual yield of up to £17,000 being operated in the bedroom.

Police tracked him down to an address in Crane Street, St Helens, where he was found asleep on the sofa.

He was arrested and when the house was search the stung gun was found hidden in the kitchen.

Following the discovery of the firearm the investigation was handed to Merseyside Police’s specialist anti guncrime unit Matrix Serious Organised Crime.

During interview Griffiths told officers he had agreed to allow his rented accommodation to be used to grow cannabis in order to pay off a debt having leant money from an associate.

Det Insp Simon Vaughan said: “The community are our eyes and ears when it comes to cannabis farms and landlords are no exception.

“Cannabis farms can be set up anywhere and criminal gangs use lots of small properties such as terraced houses and flats to spread their risk.

“This means that they are being operated in streets where decent, ordinary, law-abiding people are living and this is putting those residents at risk.

“Cannabis farms are a huge fire hazard due the dangerous and illegal way that the electricity supply is tampered with.

“They also pose a flooding risk due to the hydroponics and irrigation systems used to grow the plants.

“The cultivation of cannabis is also linked to criminal gangs who will use violence to protect their crops from rivals and coerce vulnerable people into running them for them.

“This can bring other crime into communities where farms are prevalent and the use of weapons such as firearms.

“It is therefore in everyone’s interests to help the police rid communities off cannabis farms by sharing suspicions and information with us.

“Landlords and neighbours who see suspicious comings and goings, smell pungent organic smells, see windows covered over and never opened – these are all signs that a cannabis farm may be inside and if you tell us your suspicions, the police can and will take decisive action.”