Cotswolds man's secret cannabis farm discovered by his wife
By Court reporter | 20th April 2020
A 41-year-old man whose wife discovered his secret cannabis farm in the loft of the family home has been given a suspended jail sentence - even though he threatened her with a knife after she confronted him.
Dad of three Scott Brown was growing fifty cannabis plants with a potential value of up to £42,000 when wife Sarah found the sophisticated operation in the attic of the couple's home in Wotton-under-Edge on February 11.
Gloucester Crown Court was told on Friday that Brown told his wife he would 'take her down' and that she would lose the children if she reported him to the police.
Later, in a drunken outburst, he threatened her with a large knife.
Brown, now of Nettle Road, Bury St Edmunds, pleaded guilty to producing cannabis between December 1, 2019 and February 11, 2020 in a house in Wotton and assaulting his wife on February 11.
Judge Michael Cullum sentenced Brown to a 14-month prison sentence, suspended for two years. He also ordered him to undertake 30 rehabilitation activity requirement days, 30 programme days and 150 hours of unpaid work.
The judge also imposed a five-year restraining order and ordered the forfeiture and destruction of the cannabis plants, drugs and associated paraphernalia.
Brown will be subjected to a proceeds of crime hearing later in the year.
Chloe Griggs, prosecuting, told the court: "This was a sophisticated cannabis growing operation because the grow tents were insulated and had digital temperature gauges and timers along with a specialist hydroponic system.
"The flowering heads from the cannabis plants had been removed and placed into vacuum sealed bags."
The prosecutor explained that Brown's wife had discovered the cannabis factory on February 7, and when she confronted him about it four days later he told her that if she called the police that he would 'take her down' and she would 'lose her children' as a result.
Ms Griggs added: "A few days later, and in an intoxicated state, Brown produced a large knife. Mrs Brown's teenage daughter saw it first and screamed. Brown proceeded to walk to his wife whilst holding out the weapon towards her and waved it around and demonstrating at her.
"The incident was in the family home in the presence of the children, all of whom were terrified.
"The children ran down the stairs followed by Mrs Brown and got out of the house, chased by Brown who was laughing and the youngest child saying, 'Why is Daddy doing this?'"
The court heard in a witness statement that since the incident Mrs Brown has had difficulty in sleeping and was having nightmares of seeing Brown's face spitting at her whilst shouting and waving the knife around.
"She feels that she has been deceived by the man she loved," explained Ms Griggs.
"She genuinely believes he was going to harm her and the children."
Mrs Brown stated: "Scott has ruined my life. It is going to take me years and years to pay back both financially and emotionally for the mess he has caused."
Catherine Spedding, defending, said: "Brown has been doing a lot towards his own rehabilitation by getting involved with a number of agencies.
"There had been a lot of stress within their marital relationship and matters had come to a head that day leading to these unfortunate circumstances.
"He wishes to rebuild his life and hopes his wife can do the same."
Judge Cullum said to Brown: "It is clear that when you committed this common assault on your wife you frightened the entirety of your family with a knife. You were in a desperate mental state close to a break down.
"You had a sophisticated operation for the growing of cannabis. That may well have started out of curiosity but had developed into a business, which you had approached with some enthusiasm and some considerable investment.
"The value of the cannabis plants would be many thousands of pounds and the whole operation was significant."
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