Cannabis addict spared jail after 80 plants found at his home
A 56-year-old cannabis addict has been spared jail after police found almost 80 plants growing at his Walsall home.
Stephen Willavize was bypassing his electricity meter to grow his plants - valued between £13,000 and £56,000 - which were located in three rooms at his Trend Road address in Pelsall, Walsall.
The plants were found by a British Gas worker who executed a warrant at the property and then contacted police.
Wolverhampton Crown Court heard that the plants were for Willavize's personal use and there was no evidence of him making any profits.
Recorder Balraj Bhatia QC took pity on Willavize and sentenced him to 12 months in prison suspended for 24.
He told Willavize: "You know you have a problem (addiction). The problem won't go away if you don't tackle it.
"If you are addicted you will be back in trouble again and you won't have a second chance."
Police raided the two-storey property on January 31 where they discovered the plants growing upstairs.
Eight plants were found growing in a rear bedroom which were about "six to eight weeks" from being mature, said Mr Dann. They were valued between £3,000 to £12,000.
Thirty-four plants were found in the attic which were four to six weeks from maturity. They were valued between £5,000 to £22,000.
A further 30 plants found in the property were valued at between £5,000 and £22,000.
Prosecuting Geofrrey Dann said: "The defendant was arrested and the set-up was seized.
"In an interview with police the defendant accepted that he was growing plants for his own personal use because he had a cannabis addiction.
"He said he had been growing cannabis since 2017. He had bought (growing) equipment for £500 with his own savings."
Amrisha Parathalingarn, defending, said: "This was not a particularly sophisticated set-up."
Mr Bhatia continued: "You know that when you embarked upon this particular operation and invested a lot of your money.
"There were different grows and the potential of 80 plants and we see in courts all the time that the drugs have a financial value.
"There was no implication to suggest you were making money from the drug and this matter was taken into consideration."
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