Houghton man jailed and friend given suspended sentence over drug farm found at Murton house

The Advertiser Series: Man jailed at Durham Crown Court and friend given suspended sentence over 'home' drugs farm. Man jailed at Durham Crown Court and friend given suspended sentence over 'home' drugs farm.

A MAN previously convicted for cultivating cannabis supplied a friend with equipment to grow the drug at home.

But, as a result of a police raid at the premises, in Murton, County Durham, on January 3 last year, both Graham John Harvey and Craig Tate ended up in court.

About 50 plants, believed to be only weeks from maturity, were found growing at the address, in Station Estate North, where Harvey was living at the time.

Durham Crown Court was told the electricity meter was by-passed to allow ‘free’ power supply for the operation.

Paul Abrahams, prosecuting, said fans, lamps and plastic sheeting used in the growing process were found bearing Tate’s fingerprints.

Harvey, 26, now of Abbey Drive, Houghton-le-Spring, admitted production of a class B drug and abstracting electricity.

His ‘guilty’ pleas were tendered, however, on the basis he was a heavy cannabis user and the yield from the plants would have been for his own consumption.

But, following a recent trial of issue at the court, Judge Christopher Prince ruled that it would have produced sufficient quantity of drugs for potential sale onwards, although other people may also have benefited.

He jailed Harvey for 21 months and at today’s (Tuesday February 4) hearing imposed a one year sentence on Tate, suspended for two years.

But he must perform 100 hours unpaid work as well as pay £548 costs and £100 statutory surcharge.

The court heard the 26-year-old, of St Michael’s, in Chilton Moor, near Houghton-le-Spring, admitted being concerned in the production of cannabis at a previous hearing.

Tate, himself convicted of cannabis cultivation, in 2010, was said to have played a secondary role in the drugs growth at Harvey’s former home, by providing some equipment.

Lewis Kerr, mitigating, said Tate has since begun shift work at the Nissan car production plant on Wearside and has, “now distanced himself from this kind of offending.”

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