A WIGAN grandad who grew cannabis with a potential street value of more than £32,000 in a cargo container has been jailed for 12 months.
A court heard that Ronald Sellick had bought two cargo containers to store furniture in after he and his wife had to sell their home after running into financial problems when back problems cost him his job as a builder.
The couple planned to move to Spain but they were duped and land they had bought was worthless as it lacked planning permission. The financial pressures increased and Sellick, who had been smoking cannabis to ease his back pain, began growing the drug in one of the containers, his barrister Kate Morley told Liverpool Crown Court.
His first two crops failed but after taking advice about hydroponics his third crop flourished - until police arrived and discovered his illicit activities.
They arrived at the Owd Barn service station in Wigan, where the containers were kept, on October 2, 2012 and in one found a sophisticated cannabis farm complete with lights, ventilation, fans, automatic watering system and 70 cannabis plants, said Harry Pepper, prosecuting.
Experts found that 34 were medium plants, one mature and 35 were young plants and it was estimated that the female flowering heads weighed 3.25kg and had a potential street value of £32,500.
When interviewed 58-year-old Sellick was frank and explained it was his third crop which had flourished after taking tips and he had planned to sell it, said Mr Pepper.
Grandfather of three Sellick, of Wigan Lower Road, Standish Lower Ground, pleaded guilty to producing cannabis.
Miss Morley said that Sellick has no previous convictions and is contrite and ashamed about his behaviour. His wife has mental health issues and he is her sole carer.
“He presented himself to the police station and fully admitted the offences and was generously truthful to his own detriment.”
Miss Morley pointed out that for no fault of his own the case has been hanging over him for 14 months and has adversely affected his health and he has lost two stone in weight.
Jailing him Judge Andrew Menary, QC, told him, “It is sad and tragic that you should find yourself in these circumstances.”
He said it had been a sophisticated cannabis operation and only a prison sentence was appropriate.