Cannabis factory found by council worker investigating water leak

Some of the cannabis plants recovered by police
Some of the cannabis plants recovered by police

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A CANNABIS factory was found by a council worker investigating a water leak.

The worker noticed a strong smell of cannabis after opening the flat letterbox and saw the lights used by Darren Skyrme to grow the drug.

More of the cannabis plants

More of the cannabis plants

Portsmouth Crown Court heard the 30-year-old used the drug to relieve pain from injuries suffered in a motorbike crash when younger and following an assault in 2013.

Prosecutor Dawn Hyland said the council had given Skyrme 24 hours’ notice before looking into the leak into the flat below.

Miss Hyland said: ‘Inside the property the more mature plants were found growing, I believe, in the bedroom area and the second bedroom was being used as a propagation area.

‘It would appear Mr Skyrme was sleeping on the sofa.’

In total 25 plants, some up to 2ft tall and six weeks old, were seized, along with 76 seedlings cut from those plants.

Equipment including lamps, thermometers and transformers – bought by Skyrme on eBay for £600 – were seized by officers.

Miss Hyland add: ‘It’s believed that potentially the equipment could have caused the water leak.’

Skyrme, of Grebe Close, Waterlooville, would smoke between one-and-a-half to two ounces of cannabis a week, his defence barrister Michael Hall said.

Skyrme told police in interview he was earning £400 a week as a site manager apprentice at Taylor Wimpey and was trying to save cash after researching cannabis growing on the web.

Miss Hyland added: ‘He smokes cannabis at weekends and evenings and has about eight joints an evening only.’

Skyrme admitted producing cannabis on January 15.

Mr Hall, defending, said Skyrme was injured in two separate incidents. ‘He has done his best to overcome those difficulties that began in 2001 with a severe motorbike accident leaving him in a coma for a 
month.

‘Those difficulties were compounded in 2013 when he received a very nasty head injury.

‘That provides the backdrop for the cannabis use which in any view has been hitherto copious.’

Judge Ian Pearson sentenced Skyrme to 34 weeks in prison, suspended for two years.

Addressing him, Judge Pearson said: ‘For that two years you should not self-medicate with cannabis.

‘If you do, you will be in breach of that order.

‘It’s up to you to resolve your medical problems legally.’

He must pay £340 in costs to the Crown Prosecution Service.