Blaze snares Preston drug farmer

Preston Magistrates Court

Preston Magistrates Court

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A cannabis farmer became “the author of his own misfortune” when a faulty fan caught fire and set the unit alight.

Steven Davis, 51, invested his inheritance in kitting out the terraced house in Raikes Road, Ribbleton, with lights, fans, air conditioning and extractor fans.

But on December 2, while he was away from the property, a blaze broke out and neighbours called the fire brigade.

On arrival, it became apparent the house was being used to grow cannabis and 33 plants were discovered, close to full maturity, in two upstairs rooms.

Davis was arrested and admitted he was growing the plants for his own use.

He pleaded guilty to production of a class B drug when he appeared at Preston Magistrates’ Court the following day and appeared before the crown court to be sentenced.

Francis McEntee, prosecuting, said: “This is not someone who is growing a few plants on a windowsill. There has been a degree of investment.

“He came into an inheritance and part of that has been used to set up this operation.”

The court heard Davis had a number of previous convictions and served a jail term for attempting to import cannabis, when he was found with 875g worth between £2,500 and £5,000 as he returned to Liverpool Airport from Malaga.

David Traynor, defending, said Davis had a positive influence in his childhood friend Paul Ali, who had offered him accommodation and guidance, since his arrest.

Mr Ali told the court while Davis lived under his roof he must obey the house rules, including a zero tolerance rule on drugs.

Davis, now of Cromwell Road, Preston, was handed a 12-month sentence suspended for two years with supervision.

Judge Stuart Baker said: “You know as well as anyone else that possession of cannabis is a criminal offence.

“You know that because you have been convicted a number of times and you have been sent to prison for importing it.

“It must be as obvious to you as to anyone else that whether you are growing it for your own use or for anyone else’s use, that growing cannabis plants is a criminal offence.”

Davis must live with Mr Ali and his family for 12 months.