A MAN who grew cannabis to wean himself off heroin, in breach of a suspended sentence for dealing Class A drugs, was advised by a judge not to apply for Brain of Britain.

John Crowther spent £600 setting up the drug farm because he was desperate to beat his long-standing addiction, Bradford Crown Court heard.

Crowther, 51, was caught nurturing 18 cannabis plants, having bypassed the electricity supply at the home he shared with his disabled mother.

He pleaded guilty to production of cannabis on June 26 last year.


Prosecutor Dave MacKay said that Crowther was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment, suspended for two years, in December, 2017, for possession with intent to supply crack cocaine and heroin.

He and a co-defendant were arrested in Shipley in May, 2017, with 46 wraps of Class A drugs and a dealer list.

Crowther was not sent immediately to jail because he was the sole carer for his mother.

Three months later, he began growing cannabis at his home in Heights Lane, Eldwick, Bingley.

When police raided the address, they found two rooms of plants, with lighting and ventilators.

Mr MacKay said the drug had a street value of around £15,000 if split into deals and was worth up to £9,000 if sold in bulk.

Crowther said he had been a heroin addict for 20 years and wanted to make cannabis oil for his personal use.

The court heard his disabled mother depended on him.

He used to spend every penny on heroin and he had foolishly decided to switch to cannabis instead of getting professional help.

“It was a misguided attempt at rehabilitation,” the court was told.

Crowther bypassed the electricity supply because he was on a carer’s allowance and Universal Credit and could not afford to grow the cannabis any other way.

The Recorder of Bradford, Judge Jonathan Durham Hall QC, told Crowther he had made a very stupid mistake and he did not expect to see him again.

“I really would suggest that you don’t apply to go on Brain of Britain,” the judge said.

Crowther could have set the house on fire by tampering with the electricity supply.

He was sentenced to a 12-month community order with a rehabilitation activity requirement and a drug treatment requirement, along with a six month electronically monitored curfew order.

Crowther’s mother, who attended court in a wheelchair, thanked Judge Durham Hall for sparing her son jail.

The judge warned her that Crowther must not breach the order, saying: “Do tell him, I’ll lock him up.”

The Brain of Britain show referenced by the judge is a BBC radio general knowledge quiz, which is broadcast on BBC Radio 4.

Its origins can be traced back to the 1950s, when it began as a slot in What Do You Know?

Over the decades, references to the show have often been used in light-hearted conversation when discussing intelligence.