Cannabis farmer called police to report plants had been stolen

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A CANNABIS grower was caught because he was so outraged when his plants were stolen that he called 999 to report it to police.

Matthew Warnes was immediately arrested when officers arrived at his home in Rotherham, in the early hours of July 4 and discovered more plants and an unsophisticated growing operation.

The 29-year-old had spent £250 of money given to him for Christmas on growing equipment from internet auction site eBay as he was finding it too expensive to buy the class B drug off the street.

Prosecuting at Rotherham Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday, Mark Hughes said: “He called the police to say that three of his cannabis plants had been stolen.

“When they arrived they found a further three intact cannabis plants, from 18cm to 42cm in height, and a small growing set up.

“They also found bags containing cuttings of dried cannabis, suggesting this was a continuing operation.”

In mitigation, Louisa Giblin said the operation was not sophisticated and called on the district judge not to impose a custodial sentence.

Sentencing Warnes to 26 weeks in custody suspended for 12 months and ordering him to complete 150 hours of unpaid work, District Judge Jane Goodwin said: “The fact that you yourself phoned the police to report this is not a mitigating factor.”

Warnes was also ordered to pay £85 costs.

He refused to comment after the case.