Cramlington property damaged after cannabis farm set up by window cleaner

A landlord was left with a repair bill of over £6,500 when this commercial cannabis farm was set up in a rental property.

By David Sedgwick
Wednesday, 9th March 2022, 3:56 pm
Stephen Collins pleaded guilty to producing cannabis and criminal damage.
Stephen Collins pleaded guilty to producing cannabis and criminal damage.

Four rooms at the two storey semi-detached home in Cramlington, Northumberland, were converted into a commercial scale operation which was capable of producing cannabis crops worth up to £41,000 at a time.

Newcastle Crown court heard a total of 98 plants were found growing in two bedrooms and a living room when it was raided by the police in January 2020.

A third bedroom contained a 400 litre water container that was connected to the other rooms by plastic tubing.

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Part of the cannabis farm set up in the rental property.

Another 400 litre water container had been installed in the living room.

The court heard the farm was fitted with transformers, water systems, reflectors, a ventilation network and the electricity supply had been bypassed.

A judge said the farm had been "set up so it looked after itself" and there was very little human input needed once the sophisticated system was in place.

Prosecutor Rachael Glover said the illegal installation caused "extensive damage" that cost £6,518 to repair.

The farm was discovered when a suspicious neighbour contacted the police.

Stephen Collins, of Rosedene Villas, Cramlington, Northumberland, admitted he had rented the property to settle a £22,000 debt he had to drug dealers.

Prosecutors accept the 32-year-old window cleaner had been put under some pressure to get involved to pay off the money he owed.

He pleaded guilty to producing cannabis and criminal damage.

Mr Recorder Mark Guiliani sentenced him to 23 months imprisonment, suspended for two years, with 150 hours unpaid work, rehabilitation and a £6,518 compensation order.

The judge said Collins had been "subjected to coercion and pressure which you initially tried to resist" and added: "You agreed to take on the property knowing it would be used to grow cannabis, knowing your debt would be extinguished.

"You didn't do the damage but you knew some damage would be done.

"Clearly this was a commercial operation which could have been used to produce a large number of crops per year."