A Rugby man’s cannabis-growing operation at his home had the hallmarks of being ‘a professional job.’
And a judge at Warwick Crown Court said he was not prepared to accept Matthew Keating’s basis of plea that he was only selling to friends without hearing evidence.
Keating, 36, of Lawford Road, Rugby, had pleaded guilty to producing cannabis in his flat and possessing the class A drug Methadone.
Prosecutor Theresa Thorp said that when the police went to Keating’s home in November last year they could smell cannabis even before he opened the door.
And when he answered the door they could see a quantity of the drug on a worktop in the kitchen, so he was immediately arrested.
The police then searched the flat, and in a bedroom they found three growing tents with a total of 13 cannabis plants in them at different stages of maturity.
They were being grown in fertiliser with the aid of high-intensity lights and fans, and it was estimated the crop, when mature, could yield 415 grams of cannabis.
The set-up was capable of producing three such crops a year which would have a total street value of up to £25,000, it was alleged.
In a cupboard under the stairs the officers found 489 grams of cannabis leaf material which could not be used but was indicative of a previous crop.
Keating also had 188 grams of harvested skunk cannabis worth £1,900 and 31 grams of cannabis resin worth £300.
There were also notebooks containing his calculations of what his potential profit would be, which he put at £7,500, and text messages on his phone relating to drugs.
Also in the kitchen the officers found sets of scales, a baseball bat and a loaded BB gun.
And, allegedly showing he was prepared to protect his illegal crop, a text message he had sent from his phone read: “You know what will happen if someone comes round causing trouble for me.”
Rejecting Keating’s ‘basis of plea,’ Judge Richard Griffith-Jones said: “This has the hallmarks of a retail professional job.
“I’m not prepared to sentence him on the basis that he was only selling to friends and not making a profit.”
David Everett said Keating was also holding some for the person from whom he got the growing equipment.
Judge Griffith-Jones adjourned the case for the prosecution to serve copies of exhibits in the case, including the notebooks, on the defence for them to consider.
He said the case would then be listed again for Keating, who was granted bail, to be sentenced or for a ‘trial of issue’ to take place on his basis of plea.