Gas engineer stumbles on cannabis plants worth up to £23,500

The 28 cannabis plants found growing at a home in Birdham Road, Chichester, on November 15, 2016. Picture: Sussex police
The 28 cannabis plants found growing at a home in Birdham Road, Chichester, on November 15, 2016. Picture: Sussex police
Portsmouth Crown Court in Winston Churchill Avenue

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CANNABIS worth up to £23,500 growing in a salesman’s home was uncovered by a gas engineer by chance, a court heard.

A British Gas engineer was with a locksmith when they executed a warrant over unpaid energy bills at Birdham Road in Chichester.

When the engineer got in he saw hanging cables and a large black tent so called police.

Officers arrived and found 28 cannabis plants – worth between £7,840 and £23,500 – growing in soil in a ‘professional set-up’.

Portsmouth Crown Court heard police found Daniel Burgess, 31, admitted he had allowed an associate to grow the plants – but was away at the time.

Burgess, of Adelaide Road, Chichester, said he had been in the ‘grip of the cannabis addiction’ after being ditched.

He also admitted giving the key to his home to the individual but denied knowing the extent of the operation, discovered on November 15 last year.

Recorder Michael Parroy QC handed Burgess a 14-month prison sentence suspended for two years with 150 hours of unpaid work and £350 costs to pay.

‘I don’t accept that he was not aware of what was going on in his own home,’ the judge said.

Burgess admitted permitting the premises to be used to produce the class B drug.

The drugs will be destroyed.