A DUDLEY teenager who told police his family would have been harmed if he had not set up a large cannabis farm in his girlfriend’s three-bedroom Brierley Hill home has been allowed to keep his freedom.
David Flynn stressed he owed money to the wrong people and they told him the only way to clear his debt was to grow cannabis or his family would be hurt, Wolverhampton Crown Court heard.
Anthony Bell, defending, said: “He was frightened about what these people would do. He was forced to do what he did under threats of violence.”
Mr Bell said Flynn, of Grenville Street, had been “forced to do the donkey work and take the risks” because he was intimidated.
The 19-year-old was not getting any money for what he was doing, the court was told, but his work would have cancelled out the debt.
Flynn admitted producing the controlled drug and was given 12 months in a Young Offenders Institution, suspended for two years.
He was further ordered to carry out 140 hours unpaid work in the community and was told by Recorder Nigel Baker QC: “I have taken into account the fact you were under pressure from those looking to make a profit.”
Kevin Jones, prosecuting, said Flynn’s girlfriend had gone back to live with her parents and when police raided the Brierley Hill property they found 47 growing cannabis plants.
These plants could have had a potential value of up to £39,000, said Mr Jones who told the court the men Flynn owed money had shown him what to do and the cost of setting up the cannabis farm had been added onto his debt.
It was clearly a substantial cannabis growing operation at the property in Cochrane Road, said Mr Jones.
Mr Bell said Flynn, a man with no previous convictions relating to drugs, accepted it was a large scale commercial operation and he had now vowed it will never happen again.
The Recorder said he had got himself involved in an enterprise capable of “producing a substantial yield of cannabis”.