POLICE caught a cannabis grower with plants worth more than £8,000 in his flat and an air rifle under his bed.
Max Allen (24), of Walter Street, Rotherham, was spared jail at Sheffield Crown Court last Wednesday (18), but warned: “Your card is marked”.
A police officer had called at Allen’s previous flat on Whitehall Way, Wingfield, on January 17, and after opening the letterbox could detect a strong smell of cannabis, Mr Matthew Burdon, prosecuting, told the court.
The officer could see at least two men inside the flat and suspected they had been trying to hide items.
He broke the door down after the men refused to answer and discovered eight cannabis plants, heat lamps and a filter, Mr Burdon said.
“A further search revealed that under the bed there was a box of 50 gun cartridges and a Remington air rifle,” said Mr Burdon.
The officer also found five bags of MDMA with a street value of about £35, 0.3g of cocaine worth between £13 and £28, plastic “dealer” bags and two weighing scales.
Mr Burdon said the cannabis plants, if grown to maturity, would have been worth between £5,400 and £8,400.
He said the air rifle, if fired, would have been capable of piercing skin, and therefore could be classified as a firearm, and the cartridges were live rounds capable of being fired as ammunition.
Both the gun and the bullets were illegal to keep without a certificate.
Allen was arrested and he told police that the cannabis he was growing was for personal use and he had not planned to sell it or give it to friends.
“He had no idea how much it would be worth,” said Mr Burdon.
“He did not know why he had dealer bags in his flat.
“He said the MDMA was for his own personal use and the air rifle was one he had had for ages and had never even used apart from when he went to a firing range.”
Allen pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing at Sheffield Magistrates’ Court to production of a class B drug, two counts of production of a class A drug, possession of a firearm without a certificate and possession of firearms ammunition without a certificate.
Judge Roger Thomas, discussing Allen’s mitigation, said the defendant had never fired any of the bullets from the box under his bed and they had not been compatible with the gun found in his flat.
He gave Allen a 12-month community order made up of a three-month curfew and up to 20 days of rehabilitation activity requirement.
“A lesson to learn here, and I hope you learn it,” he said.
“Your card is marked now.”