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£5k Fine For 'greedy' Cannabis Cultivator

This is Derbyshire, 27th July 2006

A property developer has been fined £5,000 after police discovered a cannabis farm in a shop he was renovating.

Andrew Chetwynd had been ordered to carry out unpaid work for growing the class C drug just six months before police discovered 209 plants, worth £31,000, at the former Falcon Bags shop, in Ilkeston.

A judge at Derby Crown Court yesterday told Chetwynd he had not learned his lesson after being "foolish and greedy" for trying to cultivate cannabis.

Police were alerted on December 11, 2004, after an electricity meter reader went to the shop in Bath Street.

The reader found a cable running from the meter to provide electricity to a "sophisticated" cannabis farm on the second and third floors.

Mark Achurch, prosecuting, told the court cannabis was being cultivated in a number of rooms with equipment such as high-powered lights, an irrigation system, fans and timer switches.

He said the "nursery" had 25 plants in it, the "growing room" 44 plants and two "flowering rooms" a total of 93 plants.

In the loft, there were 47 plants and there was a drying room and storage area.

Mr Achurch told the court that 1.81kg of cannabis had been harvested and the plants could have yielded a further 1.32kg - the total amount worth £30,800.

Chetwynd (40), of Richmond Avenue, Breaston, was picked up because his fingerprints were found on reflective sheeting and on a set of instructions on how to grow cannabis.

He told officers that police had not taken away some of his equipment when he was originally prosecuted for cultivating the drug so he had left it at the back of the premises for a man called "Kev" to use.

No-one else has been prosecuted for growing the cannabis and Chetwynd admitted producing it on the basis of what he told officers in his interview.

Caroline Bradley, mitigating, told the court that Chetwynd, a father-of-three, was devastated when he was arrested in 2004, as he had no concept of how serious the crime was.

He was trying to make some extra money when he came under financial pressure with his business.

Chetwynd was trying to move on when he passed his equipment on and thought he was ridding himself of his past, the court heard.

Judge John Wait fined Chetwynd £5,000, ordered him to pay £500 costs and put him on a six-month curfew.

He told him: "Because you were doing it for greed, in my judgement the appropriate way of dealing with you is by imposing a large fine."

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