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Cannabis plants found by dozen in man’s garage in Millfield in New Ash Green

Police discovered a cannabis factory after a garage in a residential area was burgled, a court heard.

A member of the public called police and reported that there were leaves all over the floor and they could feel heat coming from the garage in Millfield in New Ash Green.

Prosecutor Henry Gordon said officers went in and saw there was a fully fitted-out cannabis factory with lighting and heating installed.

They also spotted a cable leading from the garage into a nearby house.

Cannabis. File picture.

Cannabis. File picture.

Mr Gordon told Maidstone Crown Court the electricity had been diverted “in a crude and dangerous way”.

The home owner, Keith Gaynor, admitted cultivating cannabis and abstracting electricity. The potential yield from the crop of 40 plants grown was worth £4,000.

The father-of-four admitted smoking about six joints a day and said he had been using the drug for 16 years. He denied selling it.

Gaynor, 33, was sentenced to eight months’ imprisonment, suspended for two years, with 200 hours’ unpaid work after a judge said he was prepared to give him a chance.

Jan Hayne, defending, disputed Judge David Griiffith-Jones QC’s suggestion that the factory was set up professionally and would have required investment.

The cannabis, she said, was for Gaynor’s own use. He was in debt and living in squalor after his wife left him over his drug use two years ago when she was pregnant.

Maidstone Crown Court

Maidstone Crown Court

Miss Hayne said: “He had no idea the cultivation of cannabis carried a prison sentence. The house has been repossessed and there is no equity in it.”

He and his wife were now reconciled. He had given up cannabis and told his wife he would not use it any more.

The judge told Gaynor, who is self-employed carrying out loft conversions: “This plainly was a commercial cannabis production plant.

"The set-up was not on a huge scale. It was to some extent lacking sophistication.

“A prison sentence is demanded but in all the circumstances, especially your previous good character, I am prepared to give you a further chance and suspend it.”

Gaynor was ordered to pay £300 court costs.

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