Sheffield cannabis factory worth £69k was set up for personal use of two people, court told

A 'sophisticated' Sheffield cannabis factory with the potential to produce 69,940 of the Class B drug was set up for the 'personal use' of two people, a court heard.

A 'sophisticated' Sheffield cannabis factory with the potential to produce £69,940 of the Class B drug was set up for the 'personal use' of two people, a court heard.

When South Yorkshire Police raided the home of Antonio De Simone in Crookesmoor Road, Crookesmoor on January 23 last year they discovered a sizable growing operation in the attic of his property.

The attic had been split into four different rooms, and some 4.529kg of 'harvested skunk cannabis' was discovered within the four rooms, Louise Gallagher, prosecuting, told Sheffield Crown Court.

She said: "There was material covering the wall, there were six lights connected to transformers, there were extractor fans.

"In other words there was a substantial growing operation."

Ms Gallagher said that if the 'South Yorkshire street dealing rate' of £10 per gram was taken into consideration, the harvested cannabis found in De Simone's attic was worth £45,290.

The cannabis currently being grown had the potential to yield £24,650 of the drug, bringing the total value to £69,940, the court heard.

De Simone, aged 40, pleaded guilty to the production of cannabis on the basis that the operation was set up to produce enough of the drug so he could make cannabis oil for his friend who suffers with multiple sclerosis, and for his own personal use.

Ms Gallagher told the court that during an earlier Newton hearing, which is when a judge sits without a jury to make a decision over conflicting pieces of evidence, Judge James Spencer QC did not accept De Simone's basis of plea and described it as 'fanciful and untrue'. This was due to the quantities of cannabis De Simone was growing, the court heard.

Defending, Ian Goldsack, told the court that De Simone had been given character references by a number of people who had attested to his general good character and cooperative nature towards others.

The judge, Recorder Jeremy Barnett, sentenced De Simone to two years in prison, suspended for two years. He also sentenced him to a three-month curfew, which will prevent him from leaving the house between 7pm and 7am.

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