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Home Folkestone News Article
Newly-married Henri Canning worked out a way to pay his wedding day bills - by running a secret cannabis factory.
The 25-year-old rail engineer, who was on the inside track to becoming a boss, worked out he could raise up to £15,000 by cultivating the drug.
But the father-of-one, of Turketel Road, Folkestone, did not figure his illegal cottage industry would be blown by power engineers.
EDF staff working near a flat in Risborough Lane detected a "hot wire" and traced it back to the "factory", where the electricity supply had been tampered with.
Now Canning has been jailed for 32 months after admitting the production of cannabis and illegally taking electricity.
Police raided the flat he had rented and discovered 113 plants, which could have netted him a minimum of £20,000 if sold at the lowest bulk price, Canterbury Crown Court heard.
"It is tragic that you should have got yourself into so much debts that the only way you thought you could pay them off was in the way you tried was running a cannabis factory..." - Judge Heather Norton
Canning - who had spent £3,000 setting up the factory - had planned to use the profits to settle his debts after his recent marriage.
Prosecutor Jim Harvey said Canning had estimated his profits from the sale of the cannabis to be between £12,000 and £15,000.
He said Canning had once lived in the flat, but had moved and got married - but continued to rent the property for three months.
"Fortunately an electrical company had been carrying out work in the area and engineers became concerned about the prodigious amounts of electricity coming from the house," said Mr Harvey.
"Police officers attended the property and discovered a small cannabis factory and later officials at the power company estimated that Canning had taken more than £2,100 worth of electricity illegally."
Niall Doherty, defending, said Canning "deeply regrets" what he has done and has agreed to repay EDF.
He said the railway worker faced mounting debts caused, in part, by his wedding and "stupidly and naively" thought growing cannabis was a way to pay "everything off".
Canning had also cleaned up the flat before handing the keys back to the owner, the court heard.
Mr Doherty handed a number of references to the judge on behalf of Canning, which described him as "a good person, kind, considerate but misguided" and someone who had made "a bad life choice".
His bosses said Canning had the potential to work his way up to management level - but for the cannabis conviction.
Judge Heather Norton told Canning: "These are serious offences and you are a man of previous good character and someone who so many people speak so highly of you.
"Why you should find yourself doing these things to pay off debts, one of the reasons I am told, is because of your wedding debts.
"If that is right, then it is tragic that you should have got yourself into so much debts that the only way you thought you could pay them off was in the way you tried was running a cannabis factory."
He was also ordered to pay the victim surcharge of £120.
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