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Sheffield mum sentenced to community order for allowing cannabis to be grown at family home

A man has been arrested after police found 145 cannabis plants at a Mansfield property
A man has been arrested after police found 145 cannabis plants at a Mansfield property

'This was a monumental error of judgement,' a judge told a young Sheffield mum who allowed a cannabis farm to be set up at her family home for the promise of a cash reward.

Sheffield Crown Court heard how during a police raid of Amber Prior's home in Ironside Road, Gleadless, officers discovered 22 cannabis plants.

"There were a further 22 pots of soil, which gives the impression of waiting for more plants to be put into them," said Louise Gallagher, prosecuting.

The plants were spread over two rooms in the property in what Judge Robert Moore described as a 'very sophisticated' set-up.

Ms Gallagher told the court that Prior pleaded guilty to production of cannabis held at a hearing held last month on the agreement that the Crown Prosecution Service would accept her explanation, or basis of plea as it is referred to in court.

As part of her basis of plea, Prior said she was struggling financially and was approached by others who asked her to let them use her property to grow cannabis in exchange for a financial reward.

Prior said she never received any money for allowing the operation to be set up at her home because the cannabis plants had not reached maturity before they were discovered by police.

She refused to provide police with the names of other people involved in the cannabis operation for 'fear of reprisals,' added Ms Gallagher.

Tim Gaubert, defending, said: "She's a single mother. She has a two-year-old daughter who has Down's Syndrome and attends appointments four times a week.

"She takes her daughter to the Ryegate Centre, and is otherwise a very caring and dedicated mother,"

Mr Gaubert said Prior had been left with a large electric bill as a result of the cannabis set-up that she was now attempting to pay off.

Judge Moore sentenced Prior to a 12 month community order, the requirements of which include a 20 day rehabilitation activity requirement and 40 hours of unpaid work.

He said: "This was a monumental error of judgement on your part, getting involved in something that was way out of your league and allowing others to get off scot-free."