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Burnley building firm boss jailed for £10k cannabis farm
A BUILDING firm boss who set up a potential £10,000-plus cannabis farm in a rented house in Cliviger has been jailed for two years.
David Vallender, 49, who was not long out of jail for growing the drug, used a separate inner room in the property’s attic, with a sophisticated ventilation and lighting system.
Twenty-nine plants and 92 seedlings, which would have been passed on for cash or for another operation, were found by police who raided the house in August last year, Burnley Crown Court heard.
Former plumber Vallender, of Lindsay Street, Burnley, had claimed he had been cultivating the crop under duress, but a jury had not believed him and convicted him of producing cannabis.
He now faces a proceeds of crime hearing.
David Macro, prosecuting, said police executed a search warrant at the rural house in Rush Hey.
The 29 plants did not appear to be in a good condition.
Police were unable to estimate the value of the potential yield, but would say 25 plants would normally produce cannabis worth £10,000 on the street.
Mr Macro said officers also discovered a list of items for another set-up and the defendant admitted he had drawn up costings for a 200 plant production.
When he was questioned, Vallender claimed he had been put under pressure to set up the farm after he came out of prison.
The defendant was jailed for 18 months for growing £400,000 worth of cannabis in a large industrial unit in Blackburn in 2009 and had also been involved in two other set-ups in Burnley and Rochdale, which were owned or controlled by him.
James Heyworth, for Vallender, said the defendant now had a legitimate business in construction.
The barrister continued: “He is capable not only of employing himself, but of employing others and spends a great deal of time caring for his elderly mother.”
Judge Simon Newell told Vallender: “It does seem very strange that a man of your age should resort to this. You might be very good at growing cannabis, but you are not very good at not getting caught.”
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