Builder hid cannabis farm in loft of Suffolk home

Lisa Bastiani will have to wait until December next year for her trial at Ipswich Crown Court Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

Keith Maddock appeared at Ipswich Crown Court and admitted producing cannabis - Credit: Charlotte Bond

A Suffolk builder who set up a cannabis factory in the loft of his home has been given a suspended prison sentence.

Police officers who went to Drivers Farm Barn, in Finningham, on an unrelated matter noticed a strong smell of cannabis and heard a dull whirring noise, Ipswich Crown Court heard.

When an officer used a ladder to look into the loft he found 43 cannabis plants in three different growing areas. 

There were 17 mature plants and the rest were immature and an expert estimated they had a maximum possible street value of £25,000, said Benedict Peers, prosecuting.

Before the court was 56-year-old Keith Maddock who admitted producing cannabis in May 2019 . He was given a 20 month prison sentence suspended for two years and ordered to do 240 hours unpaid work.

He was also ordered to pay £425 costs.

Sentencing Maddock, Judge Rupert Overbury, said that following the discovery of the cannabis factory there had been a fire at the property and he was now rebuilding it.

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The court heard that Maddock told police he had bought the cannabis seeds and had been feeding and watering them but hadn’t yet had a crop.

Maddock, who represented himself in court, said he had started growing the cannabis plants when he was going through a hard time financially.

He said the growing equipment had been set up several years earlier by some  Eastern European men who had been renting the property and he had made the “insane” decision to grow cannabis. 

He said he had no idea of the value of the plants and was ashamed of what he’d done.

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