A 34-YEAR-old man who agreed to tend a cannabis farm in order to pay off a gambling debt has been jailed.

Mindaugas Damaesvicius was living at the property in Bradford when police raided it following a tip off that the house was being used to grow cannabis.
Their intelligence suggested someone was being held against their will at the terraced house.

Bradford Crown Court heard that Damaesvicius, who is from Lithuania, opened the door to officers as they were attempting to gain entry to the house on Back Lane in Heaton in January 2023.

There they found two of the rooms had been given over to cannabis growing in what was described as a “relatively sophisticated operation”.

One room contained 24 mature plants, and the other was operated as a drying room with recently harvested cannabis plant covering four of six tiers of a drying net.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Cannabis plants - stock imageCannabis plants - stock image (Image: Pixabay)

Prosecutor Austin Newman said that while no monetary value had been placed on the overall yield by police, it was “production on a commercial scale”.

Cannabis seedlings were also found in the kitchen, suggesting a further grow to come.

The electricity meter had also been bypassed.

Mr Newman told the court that officers also found two extendable batons as well as two cannisters of CS or PAVA spray in their search, similar to what police officers use.

Damaesvicius pleaded guilty to the production of cannabis, possession of a prohibited weapon and possession of an offensive weapon in a private place.

Recorder Christopher Rose sentenced him to two years in prison in total.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Bradford Crown CourtBradford Crown Court (Image: Newsquest)

A confiscation and destruction order was made in respect of the drugs and weapons, and £100 to £200 in cash, which was recovered from the property, must also be forfeited

The court had also heard that Damaesvicius had a lengthy record in both Lithuania and the UK, but only one offence was drug related - in 2007 when he was fined for possession of an unspecified drug in Lithuania.

In Damaesvicius’ defence, the court was told: “He had accumulated a gambling debt and this was a way to pay it off.”

He said that police also found a guide as to how to grow cannabis in the property, and that it had not been a significant grow in terms of the number of plants.

The equipment was also fairly standard for this sort of operation, he said.

In sentencing, Recorder Rose said: “It’s clear that at least one person was living at the property and weapons were being kept there – this was a valuable cannabis grow.”