A British Gas engineer was with a locksmith when they executed a warrant over unpaid energy bills at Birdham Road, Chichester.
When the engineer got in he saw ducting and a large black tent – so he called police.
Officers arrived and found 28 cannabis plants – worth between £7,840 and £23,500 – growing in soil in a ‘professional set-up’.
Portsmouth Crown Court heard police found Daniel Burgess, 31, who admitted he had allowed an associate to grow the plants – but was away at the time.
Burgess, of Adelaide Road, said he was in the ‘grip of the cannabis addiction’ after breaking up with his girlfriend. He also admitted giving the key to his home to the individual but denied knowing the extent of the operation, discovered on November 15 last year.
Recorder Michael Parroy QC handed Burgess a 14-month prison sentence, suspended for two years with 150 hours of unpaid work and £350 costs to pay.
“I don’t accept that he was not aware of what was going on in his own home,” the judge said. Burgess admitted permitting the premises to be used to produce the class B drug.
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