A Workington man has been spared immediate prison for growing and selling cannabis after telling police who came knocking: “I’ve had it running for years, guys.”
Officers had visited Andrew Carney, now 43, at his Fisher Street address on 30th January, 2020, about an unrelated matter.
They detected a strong smell of cannabis from his property, prompting Carney to initially produce a metal dish containing a small quantity of herbal cannabis. Carney was arrested and a search revealed there were five foil-lined tents — three in the kitchen and two in a bedroom — with a watering system for a “moderately sophisticated” cannabis farm.
Up to almost 50g of the class B drug could have been produced from that found in situ, with a potential value of almost £10,000.
Carney told police he grew it for himself and that money recovered was from “selling bikes”. He also said: “I’ve had it running for years, guys. The last time you came to my door that was already set up, mate.”
He added: “Please just show it a little respect. I don’t just grow regular weed. I buy top quality hydroponic banging sh*t.”
Police found numerous messages advertising cannabis for sale, and contact from people seeking to buy it from him.
“It is clear from the messages he was dealing to people he didn’t know very well as well as to those he did know very well,” prosecutor Joe Allman told Carlisle Crown Court.
In one interview with police, Carney had boasted: “It was a really good Christmas for the kids.”
He admitted producing and, between May, 2019, and January, 2020, supplying cannabis; and also possessing it with intent to supply.
Judge Nicholas Dean QC concluded Carney’s illegal enterprise had been “more like a corner shop than Tesco”, and also noted he had since made positive changes to his lifestyle, finding full-time, secure employment.
As a result, Judge Dean suspended a 20-month jail term for two years. Carney, a father, must complete 120 hours’ unpaid work and a rehabilitation requirement.
“It is evident from your conversation with police officers you were really rather proud of this small business and the quality of cannabis you were producing and selling,” said the judge. “This was persistent behaviour. There had been a number of growths and you had made a decent amount of money out of it.”