A drug producer who who grew 194 cannabis plants worth £159,000 in a Telford house has avoided jail after it was revealed he had been suffering cancer – and was trying to leave his six children a nest egg.
The cannabis farm at Michael Ewing’s rented property in Lydbury Close, Stirchley, was raided by police on June 15, 2018.
Officers found plants in three bedrooms as well as a sophisticated lighting and watering system.
Ewing, 40, of Ryder Drive, Muxton, Telford, confessed to producing drugs and abstracting electricity, but claimed it was to leave money behind for his family due to fears he would die from cancer.
Shrewsbury Crown Court heard that a drugs expert estimated that, if broken down into 1g deals, the cannabis would be worth up to £159,000. Broken down into ounce deals, it would be worth up to £90,000, and if it was sold on by the kilo, it would be worth up to £60,000.
It was agreed in Ewing’s basis of plea that it was most likely the drugs would have been sold on in ounce deals, and personally he stood to gain a one-off payment of £15,000.
Kevin Jones, defending, said: “He accepts there was a financial advantage. He is a father of six children and he was concerned about his future. His cancer progressed to stage three and there were worries it may end up being terminal. He was worried that there would be nothing left for his family.
Clean bill of health
“Fortunately, he was able to come out of the other side and he was given a clean bill of health at the end of 2018.
“An opportunity presented itself which he would normally have rejected. He was taken advantage of.
“The plan was for one yield and then to get out. That would have given him chance to leave something behind for his children if he did pass.
“He carried all the risk because it was him that signed for the property. It was a risk he thought was worth it.”
Mr Jones added that Ewing has moved to a job at a restaurant in Lilleshall and has been there since November 2019, and they know about his criminality.
Judge Anthony Lowe told Ewing: “This is a serious amount of drugs. It is right that it was a significant operation that involved planning. A number of judges in a number of courts would have sent you downstairs. It’s your lucky day.”
Ewing was given a two-year jail sentence, suspended for two years, and ordered to carry out 25 rehabilitation activity days.
“You are extremely lucky to go away from here with your liberty intact.”