A DRUGS courier who trashed his rented house to make way for a DIY cannabis farm claimed he did it so he did not have to pay dealers for his weed.

Michael Vella had previously run up a drugs debt to feed his habit which ended up in him transporting 2kg of amphetamines to pay off what he owed and get things square with his dealers.

We have previously reported how the 55-year-old had a cannabis grow in his rented house in Highfield, Callow End with 16 plants which were around 6ft tall when discovered during a police raid on October 6 last year.

Although Vella claimed the class B drug was for his personal use, Judge Nicolas Cartwright said it was ‘inconceivable’ Vella could have smoked it all himself and he must have supplied others to some extent.

We can now bring you more details from the case, heard at Worcester Crown Court on Friday, including the impact of the death of Vella’s wife which drove him to use drugs.

Vella admitted production of cannabis. In setting up the grow he caused significant damage to the home, including holes cut into the ceiling, the upstairs landing and the main and second bedroom.

The damage to the plasterboard of the rented property, owned by Platform Housing, was placed at £900.

The total yield of the plants, which were nearly 6ft in height, was between 448g and 1,344g at the time of the raid. A drugs expert estimated that the realisable return on the plants was between £4,500 and £7,800 if supplied at a kilogram level or between £2,560 and £11,520 if sold at ounce weights.

Bernard Porter, defending Vella, told the court: “His only financial benefit was not paying someone else for his drugs.”

Mr Porter said there was ‘no evidence of any drug dealing found in the property, no scales or anything of that sort’ and maintained the drugs were for Vella’s personal use, an argument flatly rejected by the judge.

In his mitigation Mr Porter said: “He got into debts with those supplying drugs to him. He became involved in drug dealing as a transporter of drugs to pay off the money, the debts he had accrued.”

He explained that Vella had worked full time as a decorator and general labourer and had been clean of drugs, managing to get rid of a dependency he had developed.

Vella, he argued, had started the cannabis venture because ‘he didn’t want to get involved again with dealers’. “They were the people who got him into trouble before. He knew the way that worked” said the barrister.

He also said Vella had been affected by the sudden death of his wife of 35 years. “That trauma shook him to the roots,” said Mr Porter who told the judge his client found solace in drugs again.

Vella had 28 previous convictions for 45 offences which Jason Aris, prosecuting, said reflected his history as a 'habitual drug user'.

He has convictions for possession of cocaine (2002), possession of crack cocaine (2006), possession of heroin and methadone (2011) and possession of amphetamines with intent to supply (2013).

Judge Nicolas Cartwright described Vella as courier who had transported 2kg of amphetamines in 2013 which led to a sentence of two and a half years in prison.

“The plants were the best part of 6ft tall and very healthy, flowering plants that would have yielded, if harvested, thousands of pounds” said the judge.

The judge did not order £900 in compensation because Vella had already paid for the damage, the court heard.

Judge Cartwright ordered the forfeiture and destruction of the plants and equipment.

He sentenced Vella to 10 months in prison suspended for two years. Vella must also complete 20 rehabilitation activity requirement days and was placed on a four month curfew which will run between 7pm and 7am daily. Costs of £700 must also be paid.