A British prison inmate turned an empty office into a marijuana farm while out on day release for “work experience.”
Disgraced businessman Christopher Sanders had been given time out by Sudbury Prison officials to find a job on the outside, in preparation for being released early from a seven-and-a-half-year prison stretch for fraud, according to the Daily Mail.
The 41-year-old instead spent £10,000 (more than $15,000) of his savings on high-tech equipment to grow a crop of cannabis.
|Photo: Cavendish Press|
|Christopher Sanders set up a cannabis farm while on day release from prison|
Sanders set up his secret operation at an empty unit on an industrial estate. He recruited a fellow inmate from the same prison to help him, and turned the floorspace into a pot farm.
The scheme was exposed after police raided the farm October 17 last year and seized cannabis with a street value of up to £83,000 (about $130,000).
Part of the unit was used to grow cuttings, another to grow plants to maturity, and another to dry the harvested crop in preparation for smoking.
Sanders, of Hanchurch, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffs, U.K., is now starting an additional four years in prison after admitting he grew the cannabis.
“While enjoying day release in May and June, Sanders set about starting up a cannabis factory,” said Prosecutor Robert Price.
|Photo: The Sun|
|This will be home for Sanders for an additional four years as a result of the cannabis bust|
”He spent £10,000 buying equipment and 120 cannabis cuttings,” Price said. “He enlisted the help of [25-year-old convicted drug dealer Wade] Cooper, who attended on six occasions.”
According to the prosecutor, Sanders and Cooper even wore disposable suits and gloves, so they wouldn’t leave any forensic traces at the grow site.
Sanders told police he set up the marijuana farm because he was desperate to pay off debts, including £234,000 (about $366,000) which will get him an extra three years’ prison time if he fails to pay it off.
“He got involved in the operation because it was a financial necessity,” explained Sanders’ lawyer, Andrew Jackson.
Cooper also admitted producing cannabis and was sentenced to 20 months.