Cannabis Couple Told Court Drugs Operation Was For Personal Use

PUBLISHED: 11:27 31 July 2009 | UPDATED: 10:58 04 May 2010

A CANNABIS growing operation - involving more than 80 plants -- was discovered when police raided a Little Downham home. And on Thursday 43-year-old Andrew Billimore and 51-year-old Vicki Gray, who have both served jail sentences for drug related offences

A CANNABIS growing operation - involving more than 80 plants -- was discovered when police raided a Little Downham home.

And on Thursday 43-year-old Andrew Billimore and 51-year-old Vicki Gray, who have both served jail sentences for drug related offences in the past, admitted growing the class B drug for their own use.

"It is better than supporting those young drug dealers," Gray told Ely magistrates. "A lot of people are drinkers, but I don't drink."

Billimore told the court: "We set this up to grow cannabis for our own use, it was non profit making. We grew it in a cupboard in the bedroom, we took cuttings, but some of the plants died."

Police searched the couple's home in Lawn Lane on April 27, and found 83 plants growing in a back bedroom, at various stages of maturity, said prosecutor Laura Mardell.

"They also found lamps, timers and chemicals to assist in the growth of the plants, and there was some herbal cannabis in the kitchen."

When arrested, both Billimore and Gray said they had a heavy cannabis habit, and intended to use the drug themselves.

The court heard that Billimore was given a 20-year-old jail sentence for drugs offences by Norwich Crown Court in 2000, but after the sentence was reduced by the Court of Appeal, he served six years and seven months. Gray was given jail terms of 10 months and two months in 2000.

The street value of the mature plants at the couple's home amounted to £80, said Miss Mardell.

Committing both Billimore and Gray to Cambridge Crown Court for sentencing, presiding magistrate Rev Michael Matthews said: "We are concerned about the large of number of plants involved.

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