A debt-hit Doncaster man caught growing £40,000 worth of cannabis in his home has been jailed for 20 months.
Ali Mahmood, who works for a packaging company, was found to have 34 cannabis plants in his loft and a further 11 in his cellar when police raided his property in October last year.
Sheffield Crown Court heard that Mahmood, aged 34, who lives on St James Street in Doncaster town centre, told police he was growing the plants to pay back gambling debts and was being paid £5,000 by a man named ‘Joe-Boy’ to cultivate the cannabis in his home.
Susan Evans, prosecuting, said the Crown do not accept that ‘Joe-Boy’ was a real person.
The court heard Mahmood has a five-year-old daughter and his wife has health problems and is not in work.
But the judge Recorder Ian Harris said he had no option but to send Mahmood to jail.
Recorder Harris said: “This was a professional operation.
“The basis of plea reveals you were going to be paid £5,000 – on any version this was a criminal operation.
“It doesn’t need me to set out the harm drugs do in the community.
“They are not illegal for no reason and this was an easy way for you to make money, whatever the reason for growing the plants.”
Recorder Harris said he had considered Mahmood’s family circumstances and reduced the starting point for this sentence as a result.
He said: “I’m afraid there are always casualties when somebody like you has to go to prison.
“I don’t see an alternative given the amount of cannabis we are concerned about here.”