Bedroom tax victim turned to 'spare room' cannabis factory to cope with debts
Published by Jon Land for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Legal
Police reveal 'sharp rise' in cannabis factories
A social housing tenant caught out by the government's controversial bedroom tax allowed one of her spare rooms to be used as a cannabis factory to cover her loss in benefits.
Patricia Higgs pleaded guilty at Warwick Crown Court last week to allowing her home to be used for the growing of the drug.
One of the bedrooms in the 49-year-old's Coventry home contained 30 cannabis plants. Higgs was offered £1,000 to allow the drug-growing enterprise to go ahead, but was never actually paid.
A police raid in September last year uncovered the scheme. The plants had a street value of £16,000.
Higgs' defence counsel, Ian Windridge, told the court that his client had turned to the plot because she was deemed to be under-occupying her three-bedroom property and was hit with sanctions under the bedroom tax.
Recorder Martine Kushner told Higgs during sentencing: "You pleaded guilty at the first opportunity and, on top of that, I take the view that you are of previous good character.
“I also take into account that this has been hanging over you for the last six months or more.
“In my view you have a number of difficulties in your life, and you will have the benefit of support; but what must be marked is that this is a serious offence.
“I take the view you are not going to be back in this court again. You have learned a substantial lesson.”
Higgs was handed a community order with 12 months supervision.