A man who turned his Rugby council flat into a cannabis factory capable of producing thousands of pounds worth from every crop has been jailed.
Malkesh Lad had pleaded guilty to producing cannabis at the flat in Green Court, Biart Place, Rugby, in December last year on the basis that it was all for his own use.
That was rejected by the prosecution – and when the case was listed for a ‘trial of issue’ at Coventry Crown Court he admitted he was going to supply cannabis for financial gain.
Lad, 28, was jailed for two years by Judge Philip Gregory who said it was ‘a serious offence of its type.’
Prosecutor Laura Culley said that when the police raided the flat in Green Court they found it was ‘uninhabitable,’ and was primarily being used to grow cannabis.
There were several growing tents in which there were 16 mature plants which were ready to be harvested and nine younger plants.
In one tent officers found the remnants of harvested plants on the floor which had marks on it giving away where the pots containing the plants had stood.
There were bags of cannabis leaves in the freezer, while the cannabis buds had been stored in jars, and there was also a set of electronic scales.
Miss Culley said each plant could have produced 40 grams of cannabis, so the total crop in the flat would have been around a kilo with a street value of up to £10,000.
And she commented: “It was clearly in excess of what he could have used on his own.”
When he was interviewed following his arrest Lad said it had been his own idea to set up the system, and he had looked it up on the internet to see how to do it.
He said he had wired up the lighting system, but that he watered the plants himself and was at the flat, to which his council tax benefit payments were sent, at least four days a week.
Arvind Sharma, defending, pointed out that a report by an expert from the charity Release indicated that it had not been a sophisticated set-up.
But that was rejected by the judge, who said: “They can be more sophisticated, but this was sophisticated. Just look at the photographs.
“It could be more sophisticated, because it could have an automated watering system. But it didn’t need it because it had Mr Lad. It was plainly a commercial set-up.”
Mr Sharma conceded: “Mr Lad accepts he would have got some financial benefit.
“What he says was the initial idea was to set it up for his own use. He had no idea at the outset how successful it would be, and the first grow was not particularly good.
“He then sets up a second cycle, having learned from the first one, and he concedes he would have grown more than he needed for his own use and would have found some way of selling it.”
Jailing Lad, Judge Gregory told him: “You were fortunate enough to be provided with a council flat for your home by Rugby council in Green Court.
“Rather than utilise it as a place to live, you decided to set up a system for growing cannabis in it which was able to produce a kilo from the crop you had there.
“You might well have used some of this for your own use, but you were plainly going to sell on the bulk of the crop, and you would have made thousands of pounds from doing so.
“I accept there may be more sophisticated set-ups, but this was an organised and well thought-out scheme of yours in order to make money by supplying cannabis.
“This was serious offending, quite apart from the gross misuse of a council flat, which has an effect on the neighbours and on the wider community.”