Man uses grandfather's cannabis growing equipment to cultivate own crop

Ipswich Crown Court

Jamie Saunders told police he'd used his grandfather's cannabis growing equipment for his own venture - Credit: Archant

A  28-year-old Colchester man who grew cannabis in a shipping container in a hole in the ground under a shed in his grandmother’s garden has been given a suspended prison sentence.

Jamie Saunders told police he’d used growing equipment belonging to his grandfather who’d been prosecuted by the police for the production of cannabis more than 20 years ago, Ipswich Crown Court heard.

Benedict Peers, prosecuting, said police officers who searched a shed at Saunder’s grandmother’s house found a large piece of chipboard under a tarpaulin on the ground which gave access to a sunken shipping container containing  210 cannabis plants and sophisticated growing equipment.

He said  a police expert had estimated the potential street value of the plants  at between £37,000 and £189,000.

Saunders, of Berefield Road, Colchester, admitted cannabis production and possessing cannabis.

He was given a ten-month prison sentence suspended for two years and ordered to do 150 hours' unpaid work.He was also given a 30-day rehabilitation activity requirement.

Recorder Jeremy Benson said he hoped the growing equipment which had been left in the container following the police  investigation into Saunders’ grandfather would now be seized by police.

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After hearing evidence from Saunders the judge accepted that he’d set out to grow cannabis for his own use but once he realised he’d grown more than he needed for himself he’d planned to sell it to friends.

The court heard that police discovered the cannabis factory in a sunken shipping container in a shed when they carried out a search warrant at Saunders’ grandmother’s house in Bounstead Road, Colchester, on March 24, 2020. 

Saunders told the court he’d bought the cannabis seeds on the internet and had only expected 30 to 40 plants to grow from the 250 seeds he’d planted.

He said the equipment he’d used was more than a decade old and some of it was rusty and he was shocked when he heard the potential street value of the crop.

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