Man who had cannabis factory in his East Cambridgeshire home escapes jail
- Credit: Archant
A man who had a cannabis factory in his East Cambridgeshire home worth tens of thousands of pounds has escaped jail.
The plants were discovered at the home of Mark Andrews, High Street, Cheveley, on February 26.
Andrews had also smashed items from his neighbour's house and left them on the driveway after drinking eight pints of cider, Cambridge Crown Court heard.
Officers visited his house just after 11pm following concerns about his wellbeing.
As they arrived, they saw Andrews in his front garden attempting to start a chainsaw.
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As Andrews saw police he went back into his house but was called back outside by officers, leaving the chainsaw indoors.
Officers noticed Andrews was 'highly intoxicated' or under the influence of drugs.
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He struggled to lock his front door and was keen for officers not to enter his house, Cambridge Crown Court heard.
He told police he was 'worried about his baby'.
Officers entered the house to check if there was anyone inside, but there wasn't.
While checking upstairs, police discovered two cannabis tents with ventilation and home wiring systems.
More than 35 cannabis plants in various stages of growth, together with the growing equipment, were seized.
The plants were examined and found to have a street value of up to £30,000, if all were to reach maturity.
On being arrested on suspicion of producing a class B drug, Andrews told officers he had previously been to court for the same charge and 'would do it again'.
As he was escorted to a marked police van, Andrews accused his neighbour of calling the police and said 'I have smashed up their house tonight too'.
Officers then saw numerous damaged and smashed items in his neighbour's driveway, which appeared to have been thrown from the defendant's open upstairs window.
Andrews was then also arrested on suspicion of causing criminal damage.
In police interview, he said cannabis helped him cope with his mental health.
He admitted growing cannabis but said he had no intention of ever selling it on.
Andrews told officers he personally smoked all the cannabis he grew - with his use amounting to about an ounce and a half a week.
He also admitted the criminal damage, adding that he had drunk eight pints of cider and thrown the items out of his window 'in the heat of the moment'.
Andrews apologised for his behaviour and vowed to fix his neighbour's smashed window.
In a previous hearing at Cambridge Magistrates' Court, Andrews admitted producing a class B drug and criminal damage.
His case was committed to Cambridge Crown Court for sentence today (May 23) where he was handed four months in prison, suspended for 12 months.
He was also ordered to carry out 80 hours of unpaid work.
PC Jamal Ali, who investigated, said: "Andrews was producing a substantial amount of cannabis at his home.
"Drugs destroy lives and cause misery for our communities and we will continue to work tirelessly to bring people to justice who deal or produce them.
"Anyone who suspects illegal drug activity in their area should not hesitate to call police."
If you suspect somebody is involved in drug dealing, report this to us online at https://www.cambs.police.uk/report/Report or by calling 101. Always call 999 in an emergency.