Cannabis addict turned to production to pay off debts

Cannabis addict turned to production to pay off debts

By Adele Forrest | 09/07/2021

Cannabis addict turned to production to pay off debts


A “SOCIALLY awkward” man addicted to cannabis gave over his home to producing the drug in order to pay off his debts.

The plants at Josh Darker’s two cannabis set-ups at his home in West Avenue, Bolton on Dearne, had the potential street value of £33,500.

Darker (27), who claimed he grew the drugs to feed his 20-joints-a-day habit, admitted production of cannabis and was sentenced to six months in prison, suspended for 12 months at Sheffield Crown Court last Thursday.

His offending came to light after police raided his home and found a set-up in the loft and bedroom on March 12, 2020.

They found 32 plants in total on a staggered cycle to allow for continuous supply along with an extendable baton and various handguns, which were not illegal and a “fully-charged” Taser.

Darker had previously pleaded guilty to possession of a stun gun in the lower courts and was fined £150 on April 29.

In his interview after the drugs raid, he told police he had found the growing equipment “down the lanes”.

Prosecutor Ms Louise Gallagher said: “He claimed that he smoked 20 joints a day and all the cannabis was for his own use.”

His barrister, Mr Richard Adams, said: “He was unrepresented at the police interview and gave a terrible, unrealistic and unadvised account in interview.”

Mr Adams said he had now moved out of a “reclusive, vicious cycle” and had been withdrawing gradually from using cannabis.

Sentencing Darker, Recorder Megan Rhys said: “You have been a significant user of cannabis. 

“You had limited income and accrued significant debt from purchasing cannabis which you could not pay for.”

Darker had wanted to become “self-sufficient” and bought the equipment to produce the drug himself, which caused him to get into more debt.

He had mental health issues, she said, and used cannabis as a form of self-medication.

“I am told you accept that’s not the right way to do things,” she added. 

“You need to go and take proper medical advice from your GP and allow prescription medications to have an effect.”

The court heard Darker had been volunteering at a gym in an administrative role and had found solace in exercising. 

“It appears to have given you some purpose and, to use your barrister’s words, improved your ‘social awkwardness',” she said.

Darker was also ordered to complete 80 hours of unpaid work with a 15-day rehabilitation requirement.


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