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Saturday, 19 April 2014

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Cumbria cannabis man must sell home to pay £10,000

A market trader who grew cannabis plants in his bedroom because he thought the drug might cure his backache has to sell his home to pay back his £10,000 profits.

Michael Richardson, 53, of Barbara Plains, Edenhall, Penrith, was given a suspended prison sentence in February after admitting producing the class B drug.

He was back at Carlisle Crown Court for a Proceeds of Crime hearing and admitted benefiting to the tune of £10,198.60. He was allowed six months to pay because the money is tied up in property which will have to be sold. If he fails to pay in that time he will go to prison for seven months.

Richardson was arrested after police found 25 plants in two rooms when they raided his home.

He told them he had grown them from seed given to him by a fellow trader at Penrith market in the hope they would help alleviate the back pain he had suffered intermittently since being injured playing rugby for Penrith 30 years ago.

The prosecution said he had grown the plants in an “unsophisticated” propagation system involving fertilisers, timers and lights from his tropical fish tank.

If they had been allowed to mature they could have produced cannabis with a street value of £6,000.

The prosecution accepted it was not done on a commercial basis and that he had started off growing the plants for his own benefit.

But, the court heard, he would have gone on to supply some of the drugs to his friends.

Richardson was given a nine-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, and ordered to do 200 hours of unpaid community work. He was also put under a curfew for 15 weeks.

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