Jail for former landlord of Whitton Maypole pub, David Clarke, 63, after drugs conviction

The Whitton Maypole, Ipswich

The Whitton Maypole, Ipswich - Credit: Archant

A former Ipswich pub landlord who was involved in the growing of cannabis twice in three years has been jailed for 12 months despite a judge being told he has cancer.

Former landlord David Clarke jailed for failing to provide breath specimen and driving while disqual

Former landlord David Clarke jailed for failing to provide breath specimen and driving while disqualified ES 2.3.12 EADT 6.3.12 ES 15.3.12 - Credit: Contributed

David Clarke, 63, of Old Norwich Road, Ipswich, who previously ran the Red Lion pub in Bramford Road, Ipswich and the Whitton Maypole, was diagnosed with bladder and kidney cancer earlier this year and recently underwent surgery to remove six tumours on his bladder, Ipswich Crown Court heard.

The court heard that Clarke was given a 40-week prison sentence suspended for 18 months in November 2012 after being found guilty by a jury at Ipswich Crown Court of allowing cannabis to be grown in a room at the Red Lion in December 2011 and in December last year he admitted producing cannabis in a mini cannabis factory set up in a garage.

Jailing Clarke for 12 months yesterday (Monday) Judge Martyn Levett acknowledged that Clarke had medical problems but said:”This is the second time you have been involved in cannabis in this particular way.

“Despite you health neither a fine or a community sentence is appropriate,” said the judge.

In addition to being jailed Clarke was ordered to pay £150 costs and a £100 surcharge.

Mark Roochove, prosecuting, said police went to Clarke’s home in Old Norwich Road with a search warrant on December 11 last year.

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When the officers explained that the purpose of their visit related to drugs Clarke told them: “That’s OK. They are in the garage. There’s about 40 odd plants in there.”

Police were led to the garage at the rear of Clarke’s home where they found 38 plants and growing equipment in what was described as a “professional cannabis factory.”

Mr Roochove said if the plants had reached full maturity police estimated their market value would have been £10,000-£30,000.

Jonathan Taylor for Clarke said that following surgery on his bladder to remove six tumours last month Clarke was now waiting to hear if he needed surgery on a tumour on his kidney.

Mr Taylor said the cannabis growing operation had been set up by someone else in Clarke’s garage but he accepted participating in it.

He said in addition to his other health problems Clarke was taking tablets for his heart and depression and in the past he had suffered three strokes.

“Prison would have a severe impact on his health,” said Mr Taylor.