‘Grow house’ harvest led to two-year jail sentence for Flintshire man


Staff reporter (Leader Live)

Police,who raided a detached house in a Flintshire found an old cannabis farm – and more than 1.3 kilogrammes of the drug.

Owner Paul Darren Oram, 50, had started growing cannabis because of his father’s ill-health.

But he admitted possessing the class B drug, said to be worth up to £18,500 on the street, with intent to supply to others.

Oram, of Trelogan near Holywell, who 20 years ago was jailed for five years for illegally importing ecstasy was yesterday jailed for two years.

Now an investigation under the Proceeds of Crime Act will take place to see how much of his ill-gotton gains, can be confiscated.

Judge Huw Rees, sitting at Mold Crown Court, said Oram had “a pre-occupation with drugs” for some time.

He had a continuing involvement with cannabis for many years, he said.

The defendant said he initially produced cannabis because of his father’s illness but also made it available on a wider, commercial scale.

Oram, a ground worker, had a good work ethic and the judge said it gave him no pleasure to jail such a man.

But 1.375 kilogrammes of cannabis had been found at his home with a street value of anything between £9,000 and £18,600.

Significantly, which showed what the operation was all about, there was an open box in the garage with 1,000 small, self-sealing plastic bags.

His was a leading role, selling drugs on a commercial scale, he said.

Prosecuting barrister Anna Price told how police executed a search warrant at his detached house at Trelogan on August 28 last year.

There was no one present, but a search of outbuildings revealed an old cannabis factory where officers seized some cannabis bud.

In a chest of drawers in the first floor living room of the house were two large plastic containers holding cannabis, together with a set of scales.

The prosecutor said that in the kitchen was another set of scales and a cannabis grinder and in a downstairs bathroom was a third large container of cannabis.

He made no comment in interview.

The defendant had previous convictions for seven offences and in 1996 was jailed for five years for being concerned in the importation of a class A drug.

Defending barrister Damian Zelazowski said that while his client accepted the cannabis would have been supplied, he denied selling it himself.

His father had been quite ill and that was why he started growing cannabis but he admitted possessing the drug with intent to supply.

While he had given a ‘no comment’ interview, he had co-operated with the police by handing over his electrical devices.

There was no lavish lifestyle – he was a man who found it difficult to make ends meet.

It was supply on a relatively small scale after growing the cannabis to assist himself and his family with medical difficulties.

The cannabis growing operation had been switched off for some time, the plants had died, it had effectively been decommissioned because the defendant had grown enough.

“He had grown what he needed,” Mr Zelazowski explained.

While he had relevant previous convictions, he had not been before the courts for a long time, was a hard worker and was currently part of a project under-pinning properties for renovation in Altringham.

It was dangerous and skilled work which he could continue if the prison sentence was suspended, he said.

Following sentencing, Sgt Ian Evans  said: “North Wales Police would like to thank the community for their assistance.

“As part of the ongoing process into his Oram’s criminal activity he will now be the subject of a proceeds of crime investigation to recover the financial benefits that he gained  as part of his illegal activity.”

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