Cannabis 'caretaker' jailed for £120,000 farm found at semi-detached estate house in Wakefield
A cannabis 'caretaker' was caught tending to £120,000 worth of plants at a semi-detached house in Wakefield, a court has been told.
Officers smashed their way into the property on Linton Road in the Eastmoor area on September 3 and found Antonis Soutis inside, along with 222 cannabis plants.
Prosecuting at Leeds Crown Court, Jonathan Sharpe said there were four growing rooms, along with the all the "usual paraphernalia" such as lighting and irrigation, while the electricity to the property had been bypassed.
They also found a living room for Soutis, whom he described as the 'caretaker' for the operation.
The 38-year-old was arrested and gave a no-comment interview, but his finger prints were found on light bulbs and a fertiliser bottle.
Of the 222 plants seized, 162 were mature and could have produced almost 9kg of the drug, with a potential street value of up to £89,000.
The remaining 62 plants were seedlings, but were described as being in good condition and could have yielded another £33,000 worth of the Class B drug.
Police described it as being at the "top end" of the cannabis farms they had found.
Soutis, who had been living at the property, initially denied a charge of cultivating cannabis during an appearance at the magistrates' court, but eventually changed his plea.
The court was told that father-of-two Soutis was originally from Albania, who had lived in Greece before heading to the UK in October last year looking for work to help support his family.
Mitigating, Jeremy Barton, said: "He was trying to improve his financial situation for everyone.
"He was working at a construction plant, and it was there he was introduced to another male who got him involved in the offending.
"He is not suggesting he was forced or pressured, but he saw it as a foolish, stupid opportunity.
"He wishes the court to know that he feels disgusted with what he has done. He comes from a good family, and has never been in involved in anything like this before.
"He knows nothing about the cultivation of drugs. He was there to water and to tend and follow instructions from others. He was not being paid a great deal of money."
Judge Robin Mairs described the set-up as having "all the hallmarks of professional grow" but accepted Soutis was simply the "gardener".
He jailed him for 18 months.