A CAREER criminal who was growing 80 cannabis plants was spared jail – and a judge said it probably didn’t hold much terror for him anyway as he had been that often.

Steven Rawcliffe, 27, who has 133 previous offences on his record, had kept the drugs farm behind a bedroom door which was nailed shut.

Police found the plants, transformers, lighting units, a fan and timer, but no hydroponic system, Burnley Crown Court was told.

Rawcliffe, now trying to fight his drugs addiction, was said by a probation officer to be motivated to change and he was given a suspended prison term to prove it.

The defendant, of Percy Street, Nelson, admitted producing cannabis, between May and July, last year. He was given 12 months in custody, suspended for two years, with a 12 month drugs rehabilitation programme and two years’ supervision.

Sarah Statham, prosecuting, said last July 9, police raided a property on Albert Street, Oswaldtwistle. They forced entry and found three people sleeping on the sofa. The defendant was one of them. Officers could hear electronic noises from upstairs and found a bedroom door nailed shut.

Joe Boyd, for Rawcliffe, said he had difficulties with drugs and difficulties with finances and stupidly decided to grow the cannabis.