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Prolific Nelson criminal ‘turned blind eye' to cannabis farm
7:00pm Wednesday 9th October 2013 in News
A PROLIFIC drugs criminal, who claimed he turned a blind eye when his partner set up a £4,000 cannabis farm at his house, was spared jail.
Burnley Crown Court heard how Richard Connell, 42, had more than 70 offences on his record, including convictions for growing cannabis, possessing the drug with intent to supply and being concerned in producing it.
He was on a curfew at the time. His partner had started the 'sophisticated and well -ordered' set-up at his then home on Edith Street, Nelson, but he had a stash of other drugs.
The hearing was told how police could smell the cannabis when an officer went to to the property after stopping the defendant in a car. But, a judge told Connell and his girlfriend of 12 years to leave the cannabis behind and wake up and smell the coffee instead.
Connell, of Rothesay Road, Brierfield, admitted permitting premises to be used for the production of cannabis and possessing amphetamine, cannabis and Phenazepam, on September 28 last year.
Judge Jacqueline Beech, who described the defendant's record as 'breathtaking,' gave him six months and six weeks in jail, suspended for 18 months, with a four month, 8pm to 6am curfew. She said it was 'wholly unlikely,' Connell had turned a blind eye because he was on a curfew.
Stephen Parker, prosecuting, said police went to have a look round the house after smelling the cannabis.
It got stronger as the officer went past a bedroom door covered with a bed sheet. He pulled it back and there was a bright light coming from around the door. Inside the room were 10 cannabis plants with heat lamps, fans, piping rigged into the chimney, a thermostat and plant feed. Connell's partner said the plants, which could have had a potential value of £4,000, were for her own use.
Sentencing, Judge Beech said the production was sophisticated. The judge said: "You have got to wake up and smell the coffee, both of you. You cannot carry on behaving in this way."