A 53-year-old grandfather of seven has admitted running a cannabis farm in his Dudley flat to clear a debt.

When police raided Christopher Smith’s ground floor flat after being alerted by the smell of the controlled drug they found 27 growing cannabis plants in what was described as a "professional set-up”.

Heide Kubik, prosecuting, told Wolverhampton Crown Court the cannabis being cultivated by Smith at his home in North Street, Kates Hill, had a potential street value of £12,100.

When questioned by police after his arrest Smith told officers he owed money to another man and he had agreed to look after the drugs to clear the debt.

Smith admitted cultivating the class B drug and was ordered to carry out 150 hours unpaid work in the community. He was told by Judge Amjad Nawaz people engaged in the growing of cannabis were normally sent straight into custody.

He said he had been looking after a significant amount of drugs adding: "You got yourself into debt and it was then suggested this was a good way of paying off the debt."

Michael Aspinall, for Smith, said his client had borrowed money from the other man and to "reduce or extinguish" the debt he had agreed to grow the plants in his basement.

Mr Aspinall added: "They were not his plants, he is deeply ashamed and sorry for what he did. It was financial difficulties that got him into this mess in the first place."