Son forced mum to grow £26,000 worth of cannabis

CROP: Cannabis plants found at Dianne Dickinson's home
CROP: Cannabis plants found at Dianne Dickinson's home
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A ‘soft touch’ grandmother grew cannabis with a street value of up to £26,000 because her son wanted to go to Disneyland.

On Monday, Preston Crown Court heard that 55-year-old Dianne Dickinson grew 30 mature cannabis plants in two bedrooms of her rented house in Cowling Brow, Chorley, after being leaned on by her son, Lee Smith, and two others that she is “too frightened” to name.

She pleaded guilty to allowing her premises to be used for the production of cannabis at a plea and case management hearing last month. No other person has been dealt with in connection with the crime.

Judge Michael Byrne described the cannabis factory as being “a sophisticated set-up” and that the financial rewards were to go to Mr Smith for the holiday “based on ill-gotten gains”.

The crop was seized by police in a raid on February 6, after which Mrs Dickinson was evicted by her landlord, and lost her job.

Judge Byrne said: “To a large degree, the wrong person is in the dock, it should be your son. You were doing this on behalf of your son, Lee Smith.

“It is quite clear you were protecting somebody who has some kind of hold over you.”

He added: “Cultivating cannabis is a serious matter. You only need to see the schizophrenic characters that process through these courts on a daily basis to see the impact of the drug.

“You have demonstrated that you are an easy touch to be leant on and so you have suffered a great deal.

“You have made no profit, but those responsible have got away with it. But, we will sit back and they will be found.”

Mrs Dickinson’s defence barrister said: “This case has had a profound effect on her, and this court will never see her again.”

Mrs Dickinson, who now lives in Smith Street, Adlington, and has no previous convictions, was sentenced to 12 weeks in prison, suspended for 12 months, made subject to a 12-month supervision order and ordered to pay an £80 victim surcharge.

Judge Byrne also voiced his irritation that Mrs Dickinson’s son had entered a reference for her, submitted in defence.

As she left the courtroom, the judge said: “Next time you see your son, tell him what I’ve done with his reference for you.”

Mrs Dickinson declined to comment on the matter when approached by the Evening Post.