Staffordshire University student jailed for growing cannabis
A FORMER heroin addict who grew thousands of pounds worth of cannabis has been jailed for 28 months.
Kahim Ali, aged 36, acted as a gardener of cannabis plants in return for three months' rent-free accommodation and a small amount of the class B drug each week to fund his own habit.
But police searched the address in Dartmouth Street, Burslem, on February 17.
Prosecutor Cathlyn Orchard yesterday told Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court Ali was asked where the cannabis was.
"He pointed to a mattress on the landing which covered a door which led to a room where plants were cultivated," said Miss Orchard.
"The walls were lined with white plastic sheeting.
"There was a vent and lighting installed and plant pots and remains of harvested plants."
Miss Orchard said there was a large amount of cannabis being dried with a total weight of 1,196 grams.
And in an upstairs front bedroom police found 36 young cannabis plant cuttings growing in trays.
Miss Orchard added that bags of cannabis were found in a cupboard.
In total there was more than two kilograms of cannabis found in the house with a street value of £9,600.
Ali, of Dartmouth Street, Burslem, pleaded guilty to producing cannabis.
He accepted he was involved in a commercial enterprise and his role was that of gardener.
Robert Smith, mitigating, said Ali was a former heroin addict who had been disowned by his family.
Mr Smith said: "He initially did not realise the scale of the operation.
"But at some point he did realise it was a lot larger than he thought it was."
Mr Smith conceded a custodial sentence was inevitable, but he asked Judge Paul Glenn to consider suspending the term.
He said Ali has started a music degree course at Staffordshire University and is now living with his mother, but intends to move into his own accommodation.
"He has stopped entirely using illicit drugs," added Mr Smith.
"Prison would undo all his hard work. He comes from a professional family, now supporting him. He asks for some mercy."
But Judge Glenn said only an immediate custodial sentence was appropriate.
He told Ali: "The police found a quite professional set-up.
"There were 36 young plants growing, there had been two crops earlier.
"The police found a significant amount of cannabis that had been harvested and dried, together with electronic scales.
"You were involved in growing cannabis on a significant scale.
"You chose to get involved and your motivation was financial."