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Husband and wife drug team escape jail term
2:40pm Wednesday 6th March 2013 in News
A HUSBAND and wife who were caught in a police raid growing cannabis in their Worcester home have been given suspended prison sentences.
Local authority workers Matthew Kirkham, aged 32, and 31-year-old Victoria Kirkham said they had calculated they could save money by growing the 16 cannabis plants for their own use at their home in Buck Street, St John’s, Worcester. Both were heavy users of the drug.
But messages were found on Kirkham's mobile phone suggesting he had also been planning to sell some of the cannabis to friends who were drug users, Worcester Crown Court heard.
Steven Bailey, prosecuting, said the plants were discovered growing in a tent under a 600-watt lamp when police raided the house in July last year. The plants were six to eight weeks from maturity when they could have potentially yielded skunk cannabis worth up to £3,500.
Both pleaded guilty to producing cannabis and Matthew Kirkham also pleaded guilty to a supply charge for the Class B drug.
Mr Bailey said Kirkham had told police he only had a list of four or five names in his possession because he was writing a storyline for a film about drug dealers.
He later changed his story and admitted that he had intended to make some money out of of selling some of the cannabis.
Barry Newton, defending, said Kirkham had used cannabis for a number of years but had stopped completely since the raid. The couple had been married for four years and had bought the house together but had lost their jobs and got into financial difficulties.
They had been left with debts of about £7,000. Kirkham and his wife now worked full time as local authority workforce support officers but were likely to lose their jobs and could face losing their home.
Ruth Edwards, defending, said Victoria Kirkham had started using cannabis at school and carried on through university. She said Mrs Kirkham had been frightened by the experience of being arrested and had also stopped using cannabis. Both had shown genuine remorse. Matthew Kirkham was given a 12-month sentence suspended for two years and Victoria Kirkham was given an eight month sentence also suspended for two years.
Recorder Greg Pryce said he believed Kirkham had intended to make as much money as possible from the cannabis production.
A proceeds of crime hearing is expected at a later date.