A man convicted of growing cannabis in the cellar of his home in Dalton has been jailed for a total of three years.

Leeds Crown Court heard around 60 plants with an estimated potential street value of £16,000 to £18,000 were found at the address in Longfield Close by police officers on November 18, 2014.

Anthony Raymond Gardner, 41, was found guilty by a jury earlier this year of producing the cannabis and was yesterday also convicted of contempt of court by selling a car which was under a restraining order imposed on his assets.

He had denied the plants were his maintaining he had rented the cellar out to a man called Colin and said he had no idea that person was growing cannabis.

He also told the court he had not seen the restraining order at the time it was hand delivered to his house because it was put through a letter box he did not normally use and was picked up by his mother who put the unopened envelope in his room without him knowing until months later.

He said he sold the car only to get money to pay of his debts.

Sentencing Gardner Judge Christopher Batty said it was a sad day for his family but he should have thought of them sooner

“You took a conscious decision, whether to bail yourself out of debt or whether it was to make money, to break the law by dealing drugs and so you set up in your cellar a professional cannabis grow.”

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When police attended they found around 60 plants with a potential yield of two kilogrammes.

“You were in receipt of benefits at the time, parked on your drive was your M5, in your garage was an impressive gym,” the judge added.

There were hallmarks of professionalism in the set up in the cellar with the potential for making “significant sums.”

Cannabis plants

Security had also been installed.

“A safe type door had been fitted to the cellar complete with five or six separate bolts and gate over the top of it,” said Judge Batty. “You were bypassing the electricity to carry this out.”

The judge said it was not plausible that the restraining order had sat among his documents for two months without being opened he was satisfied he had sold the car in breach of the restraining order and hid the money in an account in his child’s name.

He imposed two and a half years in prison for the cannabis offence with six months consecutive for contempt “as you sought to dissipate your assets.” A further hearing will take place to decide a proceeds of crime application.