Notts cannabis farmer aged 56 told to "grow up" by judge

A Notts man whose £45,000 cannabis farm was uncovered in his basement by a locksmith who called to change the locks, was told to grow up by a judge.

Police were called to Robert Coverdale's Magdala Road home in Nottingham, on March 19, 2019, where they found 55 plants with a potential yield of between one and a half and four and a half kilos, which could have fetched as much as £45,000 at street level, said prosecutor Alan Murphy.

When Coverdale returned home, police were waiting for him, and they found he was carrying £1,300 in cash and 14 grams of cannabis.

He said the cash was borrowed to pay his mortgage and denied dealing the drug.

Image of a cannabis grow.

But analysis of his mobile phone revealed he had been selling cannabis and valium since February 2018.

Nottingham Crown Court heard he has eight previous convictions including cannabis possession and production.

Chris Brewin, mitigating, said Coverdale, a stage lighting engineer, used the drug to self-medicate for depression and the house where he was living was repossessed

"There is a question mark about his motivation," he said. "He has been smoking drugs for a long time. He has been prescribed antidepressant medication. He is frankly terrified about going to custody."

Coverdale, 56, of Mapperley Park Drive, Nottingham, pleaded guilty to production and possession of cannabis, supplying cannabis and valium.

Judge Stuart Rafferty QC told him: “There is no point lecturing you, because you will simply carry on.

“You would be eaten for breakfast in prison. For God's sake. I spend my life sentencing people in their twenties for this. It doesn't do to say "I am a child of the ‘60s and the ‘70s, it was different then."

“No wonder you're depressed. Cannabis is a depressant. That's why it's against the law.

“If you and I see each other again in the next two years, woe betide you. That isn't a threat. It's a promise.

“Try and spend the rest of your life living like an adult, rather than a child.”

He sentenced Coverdale to two years, suspended for two years, with 20 rehabilitation days, ordered the forfeiture and destruction of the drugs and confiscated the £1,300.

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Nancy Fielder, editor.