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Burnley 'mad professor' grew £33,000 cannabis farm
A BURNLEY man who cooked up a ‘mad professor’ scheme to top up his cannabis habit and ended up with £33,000 of the drug has been given a second chance by a crown court recorder.
Sixty-year-old Alan Ferguson confessed he became ‘obsessed’ by the pursuit, after researching how to build his own mini drugs farm on the internet, Burnley Crown Court heard.
And after using specialist fertilisers he ended up growing around £1,000 worth of cannabis from each of his plants – nearly three times the usual crop.
Ferguson, of Bank Parade, told Recorder Robert Rigby that he was going to put any surplus cannabis in air-tight jars so he need never buy the drug again.
The court heard that police raided Ferguson’s home and found three crops of cannabis, of around 33 plants in total, in various stages of development,.
Ferguson admitted producing cannabis but denied dealing in the drug and was placed on trial over the issue.
Ferguson told the court he had purchased a consignment of Richard Jackson’s Premium Plant Food, after watching an item on the home shopping channel QVC.
He said: "The policeman said that they were the most healthy plants he had ever seen."
But under questioning from Mr Rigby he insisted he was growing the cannabis ‘for myself and only myself.’ Ruling that Ferguson had not been dealing, Mr Rigby said: "I came to this case skeptical, to put it mildly, that anyone could grow 30-odd plants, take the trouble to buy hundreds of pounds of equipment and then not have the intention to do anything than feed their own habit.
"But I have heard from you today and I have come to the conclusion that you are no ordinary drug addict, drug dealer or anything remotely similar.
"You seem to be a rather naïve man and I am absolutely satisfied that he never formed the intention of selling it on or ever thought about what he was going to do with the excess of these plants over and above his mad professor scheme of bottling it."
Ferguson was given a eight-month prison sentence suspended for 12 months, with six months probation supervision.
Mr Rigby added: "You must stop taking cannabis altogether."