Cheadle dad sold drugs after huge crop
CANNABIS grower Edward Bowler who starting selling the drug to friends after a particularly fruitful crop has avoided an immediate jail sentence.
The 29-year-old started cultivating the class B drug in his house in Cheadle so he could smoke it himself.
But the operation was more successful than he imagined and he sold some on to friends and associates, Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court heard yesterday.
Prosecutor David Bennett said members of the public reported a strong smell of cannabis coming from the property in Lid Lane in the early hours of February 18.
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Police attended at 2.20am and Bowler came out and asked what was going on.
"Police pointed out they needed to search him and his house. Police jumped over the fence and detained the defendant," said Mr Bennett.
"Police entered with the defendant.
"The house was empty of furniture, save for one sofa and £380 cash was concealed in the kitchen.
"The rear first floor bedroom was adapted for growing and drying cannabis."
Officers recovered 1.18 kilograms of harvested skunk cannabis and 168 grams of fragmented cannabis.
In total the harvested cannabis was worth between £4,200 and £5,800 and the fragmented was valued at £840.
Bowler told police he owned the house and he lived with his partner in Tean.
He said the cannabis was for his own use, this was the first time he had grown any and he produced more than he anticipated.
He added that the cash was given to him by a man he knew from the pub.
The defendant, of Tenford Lane, Tean, pleaded guilty to producing cannabis.
Robert Smith, mitigating, said Bowler began using cannabis when he was aged 14 and described himself as a cannabis addict at the age of 16.
"In November last year, cannabis prices were so high, he decided very foolishly to grow his own supply," said Mr Smith.
"It was a one-off operation. It was his first and last attempt to grow cannabis.
"He was more successful than he imagined. It was only at that stage he formed the intention to sell for commercial gain.
"He accepts some of it would have been sold."
Mr Smith asked Judge Robert Trevor-Jones to consider suspending any prison sentence as Bowler, whose partner gave birth four weeks ago, is deemed a low risk of re-offending.
He added the defendant has no relevant previous convictions and has not used cannabis for 10 weeks.
The judge sentenced Bowler to eight months in prison, suspended for two years, with 12 months supervision and an additional 160 hours unpaid work.
"I hope this has been a bit of a wake up call for you," said Judge Trevor-Jones.
"You have escaped going to prison today by a whisker and you ought to reflect on that.
"The likelihood is that if you come back before the court again, in particular for anything involving drugs, you will then go straight to prison."