A BUILDER hit by the recession and a broken arm which stopped him working got involved in cannabis production to try to ease his financial worries, a court was told.

Blackburn magistrates heard that police discovered a large-scale production facility in a “secret” room at the rear of an outbuilding at his home.

And the court was told an expert had estimated the yield from the crop, discovered by police, would be 4.2kg with a value of £42,000.

Neil Joseph Clarke, 34, of Haslingden Old Road, Knuzden, pleaded guilty to producing 106 cannabis plants.

He was committed on bail to Preston Crown Court for sentence after the magistrates ruled their powers of punishment were insufficient.

Pat Bramley, prosecuting, said as police executed the search warrant Clarke arrived.

“An initial search revealed nothing but police did find a secret door at the rear of the unit and he eventually gave them the key,” said Miss Bramley.

When he was interviewed Clarke admitted his involvement and said he had allowed the building to be used to clear a £15,000 debt.

Simon Farnsworth, defending, said Clarke had run his own building business until a shortage of work and then a broken arm had brought things to a halt.

Mr Farnsworth said: “He knew somebody who knew somebody else who he thought would be able to help.

“My client let them use his outbuilding and helped with some of the construction work but didn’t have anything to do with it after that.”

He added that his client’s wife was also arrested at the time of the police raid.

“She had no idea about the grow room and was absolutely horrified,” said Mr Farnsworth.

“It has resulted in him splitting up with his wife of 10 years.

"She has taken their child with her. He feels he has lost everything.”