Brierley Hill mum spared jail after growing cannabis to clear a debt

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A 24-YEAR-OLD mum-of-two who set up a cannabis factory in the basement of her Brierley Hill home to clear a debt to a loan shark has been spared jail.

Stephanie Hodgetts was looking after 28 mature plants which would have provided £12,500 worth of the controlled drug if sold in street deals, Wolverhampton Crown Court heard.

David Lees, prosecuting, said cops went to the house in Church Street on an unrelated matter and they found the plants together with equipment to encourage growth.

The electricity supply had also been diverted to provide power for the growing plants which would have provided 1.26 kilogrammes of cannabis.

Hodgetts admitted producing cannabis and was given a nine-month jail term suspended for 18 months and ordered to carry out 180 hours unpaid work in the community.

Judge Martin Walsh told her it was a serious offence because there were two children in the property, adding: "You were responsible for the cultivation of these plants for a third party.

"It was a relatively sophisticated operation and the motivation was clearly financial because of your debt to another party."

Simon Hanns, defending, said Hodgetts had clearly been under pressure to grow the plants and pass the cannabis on to others.

He added: "She was nursing and tending them to pay off a debt to a loan shark. She had to change her address and as a result she found herself in debt."

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