Man operating cannabis factory at his home avoids jail

Cannabis plants discovered in Ipswich

Cannabis plants were discovered at properties in Parliament Road and Braeburn Close in Ipswich - Credit: Suffolk police

A man running a cannabis factory at his home in Ipswich while also acting as a gardener at another operation in the town has avoided jail. 

Ipswich Crown Court heard how police officers executed a warrant at a property in Parliament Road, Ipswich, on March 5, 2018. 

Officers discovered 163 cannabis plants and the property had "clearly been modified for the purpose of growing cannabis", Richard Burrington, prosecuting, told the court. 

Mr Burrington said it was a "sophisticated operation", the bath tub was missing and there was a hole in the ceiling for electrical equipment to pass through. 

The plants were examined and, at full growth, were estimated to be worth a street value of around £136,000, the court heard. 

Ronald Holness was sentenced for growing cannabis at his Ipswich home

Ronald Holness was growing cannabis at his Ipswich home - Credit: Suffolk police

While police were at the property, Ronald Holness walked in and was subsequently arrested by officers and taken to Martlesham Police Investigation Centre for questioning. 

Officers later searched Holness' home in Braeburn Close, Ipswich, and discovered a further cannabis farm, with plants worth a street value of around £28,000. 

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Holness had converted one bedroom of his second floor flat into a "cannabis growing facility", the court heard. 

In police interview, Holness admitted growing cannabis at his home and admitted involvement in the plants at the Parliament Road address in that he watered them. 

Holness, 45, of Braeburn Close, Ipswich, who had no previous drug convictions, previously pleaded guilty to two counts of being concerned in the production of cannabis. 

Ian Persaud, mitigating, told the court that Holness had accepted responsibility for what he was growing and regretted what he had done. 

Mr Persaud said that Holness was very remorseful about hurting family members and close friends through his actions. 

Holness had not committed any offences since the operations were discovered, and had two part-time jobs, Mr Persaud added. 

Sentencing Holness on Friday, Recorder Heather Rogers chose not to impose immediate custody. 

Holness was handed two years' imprisonment, suspended for 18 months, and must complete 200 hours of unpaid work. 

Recorder Rogers also ordered the forfeiture of the drugs and paraphernalia, and Holness must pay a victim surcharge of £140. 

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