‘Cannabis gardener’ avoids jail after 91 plants uncovered at Northampton property

The cannabis plants have an estimated street value of up to £76,440, the court heard

By Megan Hillery
Monday, 16th May 2022, 5:10 pm
Updated Monday, 16th May 2022, 9:01 pm

A 23-year-old man has been given a suspended prison sentence after acting as a gardener at a Northampton property containing 91 cannabis plants.

Regimantas Pocevicius, aged 23, of Louise Road, appeared at Northampton Crown Court on Monday, May 16 after pleading guilty to producing a crop of cannabis that was discovered by police on March 4 earlier this year.

The court heard that police conducted a drug search of a Northampton property, where they found a total of 91 cannabis grows in two bedrooms and a growth tent in the basement.

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Regimantas Pocevicius, aged 23, appeared at Northampton Crown Court on Monday, May 16.

Ms Fitzpatrick, prosecuting, told the court that the electricity had been bypassed at the property and the cannabis grows had an estimated street value of up to £76,440.

The court heard that Pocevicius, a Lithuanian national, was offered work as a labourer in the UK. Pocevicius is the sole carer of his disabled mother, who is paralysed on her left side due to a stroke, so he accepted the work.

Ms Fitzpatrick told the court that Pocevicius arrived in the UK in November 2021, where he was taken to the address in Northampton. The cannabis grow was there before he arrived and he was paid a sum of money to act as a “gardener” to care for the plants. He was not charged rent.

Pocevicius gave a no comment interview to police following his arrest, the court heard.

Ms Ball, in mitigation, told the court that Pocevicius entered a guilty plea at the “earliest opportunity”.

She added: “His age is a mitigating factor - in particular, his lack of maturity clearly affected his decision making and his vulnerable financial position was exploited.”

The court heard that Pocevicius’ mother relies on him financially and has no one else to support her. Pocevicius additionally has walking difficulties, following corrective surgery as one of his legs was shorter than the other.

Ms Ball told the court: “He struggled in school and took on work labouring, which is what he thought he was doing when he agreed to come to the UK.

“He was in a new country at a young age, not speaking the language, when he went along with what he was asked to do.”

Mr Recorder Crowe agreed that Pocevicius played a “lesser role” with regards to the “cannabis factory of some sophistication”.

He accepted that Pocevicius is the sole carer of his disabled mother and he has some mobility issues but said he is “capable” of working as he came to the country in the hope of carrying out construction work.

Mr Crowe, sentencing, said: “You thought you had been conducting lawful work when you applied for work in this country but instead were taken to this address and instructed to act as a gardener for these cannabis plants.

“You had limited financial gain and limited knowledge of the operation but nonetheless you chose to stay and perform the role asked of you.”

Pocevicius was sentenced to eight months imprisonment, suspended for 18 months. He was additionally ordered to attend 25 rehabilitation requirement days and carry out 120 hours of unpaid work.