Liversedge drugs factory pair had plants worth £27,000

LATEST NEWS Liversedge men in court for growing cannabis.
LATEST NEWS Liversedge men in court for growing cannabis.

A man who claimed he grew cannabis to smoke for medicinal reasons has been jailed for two-and-a-half years.

Nigel Ratcliffe was sentenced for two counts of producing cannabis at houses in Huddersfield Road, Liversedge, and Old Bank Road, Mirfield.

Prosecutor Kate Bisset told Leeds Crown Court on Wednesday that police were called to Huddersfield Road in November 2010 after reports of a burglary.

Officers soon found 101 cannabis plants which, if harvested, would create 3.24 kilos of skunk cannabis with an estimated street value of £27,000.

Ms Bisset added that police found Ratcliffe’s fingerprints on the growing equipment.

Ratcliffe, 42, of Huddersfield Road, Liversedge, had pleaded guilty and was awaiting a hearing at crown court when he was arrested a second time.

In May 2012 police found £6,500 worth of cannabis at his house in Old Bank Road following reports of strange smells.

Michael Greenhalgh, mitigating, said: “He has spent some time living and working in Holland where the attitude to cannabis is more relaxed than it is in England.

“He suffered work-related injuries, and was still using cannabis when he came back to the UK. He then suffered a knee-injury and took to self-medicating with it.”

He said Ratcliffe had now secured full-time employment but would fall into arrears and faced the prospect of losing his home if jailed.

Sentencing him, Judge Geoffrey Marson QC said: “You were growing cannabis for your own consumption, but it was clearly partly a commercial exercise as well. It involved a sophisticated breach of criminal law.”

Ratcliffe’s friend Ian Pickard, 50, also of Huddersfield Road, Liversedge, admitted being concerned with the production cannabis.

He was given an eight-month sentence suspended for a year and ordered to pay £400 court costs.