TWO friends who ran a cannabis factory in the basement of a rented house have avoided a jail sentence.
Terence Mundy and Danny Petzing ran the sophisticated set-up from their home in Velder Avenue, Milton, Portsmouth.
On the outside the house looked like any other and neighbours had no idea what was going on.
Portsmouth Crown Court heard the operation would have produced cannabis with a wholesale value of £6,200 per crop and was capable of producing four crops a year – meaning it would provide about £24,000 worth of the drug in 12 months.
The pair were arrested after the landlord of the terraced house went to the property, thinking it was empty.
He found a number of cannabis plants in the kitchen and called the police.
When officers searched the building they found 24 plants in the basement, along with hydroponic lights and timers, pictured right.
Mundy, 28, now of Whale Island Way, Buckland, Portsmouth, had been renting the flat through Portsmouth City Council but he had sublet it to his friend Petzing, also 28.
The court heard Petzing, now of Angerstein Road, North End, Portsmouth, had agreed to look after the plants when Mundy wasn’t there.
Detective Constable Stephen Ryan said: ‘This was a complex set-up in a basement of a residential house.
‘Plants with a wholesale value of £6,200 were seized and destroyed by the police and two males were found guilty of the plants’ production.
‘Cannabis factories present a danger not only to the occupants but to neighbours.
‘Often the combination of amateur electrical installation and water, proves hazardous. I would urge members of the public to report any suspicions to the police.’
Both men were interviewed by the police following the discovery in July but denied having anything to do with the plants.
They were found guilty of producing cannabis after a trial.
Mundy received a 12-month prison sentence suspended for two years and was told to do 200 hours of unpaid work.
He will have 12 months of supervision from the probation service to help him stay out of trouble.
Petzing was given a 12-month community order and told to do 100 hours of unpaid work.
The drugs will be destroyed.