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Man Grew Dope to Pay Poker Debt

A UK man who looked after a cannabis farm in order to pay part of a debt caused by poker losses has been given a suspended sentence. It came after he pled guilty to producing cannabis and also possessing the drug with intent to supply.

Paul Mead, from the town of Darwen in northern England, was found to have grown crops that would have yielded as much as 1.2kg of cannabis, according to police. The 44-year-old said he had agreed to live as a guest at the property for the purposes of growing cannabis as a way to raise £2,000 (around US$3,040).

That money would then be used to pay a £4,000 (around $6,080) debt he had incurred as a result of losses from playing poker. Mead’s defence lawyer Mark Stuart said his client had been put in a bad situation by his poker losses and that he did what he could to ensure his resulting debts were paid.

“Others made sure he lost and made sure he was in debt. He was not in a position to pay the debt back. He felt he had little choice, but to accept what happened,” he said. “Others brought the equipment and set it up. They came twice and cropped it.”

The presiding judge Beverley Lunt said the offences committed by Mead were despicable and that he would be sent straight to prison if he reoffended. “I will give you this one chance. It is the only chance you are getting,” she said.

Mead, who did not have any prior drug related charges on his record, was given a 14 month prison sentence that was suspended for two years with 12 months supervision. He was also order to pay a £100 (US$151) surcharge.

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