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A father-of-two who had a near £9,000 cannabis farm in his cellar has been jailed for a year after a judge said he "facilitated drug dealing".

Burnley Crown Court heard how long-time addict Steven O' Rourke, 42, was growing 25 plants for others at his home in the town.

He claimed it hadn't been his idea - he had been trading in cars and car parts at the time, those he was doing business with suggested he could grow the cannabis, he "succumbed" and they put in the equipment.

The hearing was told how O' Rourke, had had no idea how much cannabis was being cultivated and how much it would be worth.

His barrister said: "He was led into this by others. They used him as a front."

The defendant, whose electricity meter had also been by-passed, admitted producing cannabis on January 13 and abstracting electricity. O' Rourke, of Healeywood Road, Burnley, will not face a proceeds of crime hearing.

The court was told the defendant was caught red-handed by police. The drugs would have been worth £8,750 on the streets.

Keith Harrison, defending, said:" I can't say there wasn't a commercial element, because he would have received some drugs."

The barrister said O' Rourke didn't think about the quantity of the cannabis that was being produced and was "rather surprised," by the amount.

Mr Harrison told the hearing the defendant had now stopped using cannabis. He had no previous convictions for cannabis or involvement in production or trafficking of drugs and the last time he was in court was 2006.

The barrister continued: "If there is immediate prison, the effect will be heavy, not just on him, but on his wife, who recently had a significant operation, his two young children and his infirm mother, for whom he cares.”

Mr Harrison said O' Rourke had the prospect of full-time work. He added :"This case, for him, has been a significant wake-up call."

Passing sentence, Judge Beverley Lunt said O' Rourke had been a cannabis addict for many years, knew the evil of what he was involved in and didn't care how much cannabis was being grown.

She told him: "You obviously knew that those who would come and collect the drugs would then deal in them and you facilitated that for some months."