A BRIDLINGTON man risked jail after being caught with £8,000 worth of cannabis growing in his loft on a leafy suburban street.
Hull Crown Court heard motorcycle enthusiast Christopher Graily, 43, led a double life tinkering in his motorcycle workshop while allowing the loft space above to become a small cannabis factory capable of producing crops worth up to £17,300 a year.
Police, acting on information, caught him red-handed when they raided his locked double garage at the bottom of his back garden in Marton Road.
When they opened the workshop loft Graily said: “It is not mine. Someone else is growing them. If I tell you who, I will get hurt.”
At Monday’s hearing, Crown barrister Jane Bryan said when interviewed by police Graily had refused to answer questions about his motives.
There were three sections to the loft. The first had a table, electronic scales to weigh drugs, two boxes and 131 grams of cannabis worth £660.
The second contained 59 growing herbal cannabis plants and the third, 17 plants. The plant sections had a heater, lamps and transformers used in the hydroponics operation.
Forensic experts at Wetherby established the 76 plants had been grown from seed and not cuttings but could not say if they had been harvested before the raid.
Mrs Bryan said a police expert’s conservative estimate of yield was £8,680, but if all the 76 plants had flowered the crop would be worth £17,300. More than two crops a year can be grown.
The court heard Graily was involved in an accident which left him walking with the aid of a stick and had left mental as well as physical scars said his barrister Christopher Dunn.
He admitted Graily had been at Hull Crown Court before receiving a suspended prison sentence for dangerous driving in 2008.
He described Graily as being in a fragile state and any suspended sentence would hamper his future chance of employment with two serious sentences on his record.
“He is not a person with a criminal personality,” said Mr Dunn. “There were two other people involved. He needs help and assistance.”
Graily pleaded guilty to a single charge of permitting his premises to be used for the production of a controlled drug on September 13, 2010.
Recorder Henry Prosser told him: “There is a strong argument that there is so much growing of cannabis going on at this time, that anyone who gets involved in this sort of thing should get a suspended sentence imposed. You could have no complaints if I passed a six-month suspended sentence.”
He orderly Graily should receive a nine-month community order with a requirement to attend the Chance To Change Programme.
He also ordered the confiscation and destruction of equipment and plants seized in the raid, and warned him: “If you fail you could still be sent to prison. Don’t let the court down. Comply with the order and stay out of trouble and that will be the end of the matter.”