Dog breeder resorted to drug farming when business crumbled

Nottingham Crown Court.
Nottingham Crown Court.

A dog-breeder from Mansfield who resorted to growing cannabis after his business ‘crumbled’ has been spared jail, a court heard.

Sean Keane, 31, of Millrise Road, admitted producing more than 20 cannabis plants and illegally abstracting electricity worth £864.

Nottingham Crown Court heard that Keane had rented a three-bedroom house on Brockenhurst Road in Mansfield, and converted the bedrooms into a cannabis farm.

Tina Dempster, for the prosecution, said police searched the house on October 9 last year and found 20 cannabis plants with six more that had been cropped.

She said: “He told police that he bypassed the meter because he couldn’t afford the electricity.”

An expert calculated that the potential yield from the plants was between 560 grammes and 1,680 grammes, with a street value of between £5,600 and £16,800.

Felicity Campbell, mitigating, said: “His intention was to sell the plants wholesale. He wouldn’t have been dealing this directly on the street.

“He planned to sell it to a friend who had provided him with the plants and the know-how to grow them.”

She said Keane’s last appearance before the courts was for an offence of dishonesty in 2010 when he was struggling with mental health problems.

She said: “He is now in a stable relationship with his partner. She has been a real sea-change in his life. He has moved away from crime. He has found ways of supporting her by breeding and showing dogs.

“He turned to this when his dog-breeding crumbled last year.”

She said Keane started off with about 50 cuttings but ‘the large majority of them didn’t grow to produce cannabis worthy of sale.’

Recorder Stuart Strawson said: “You decided to install the equipment and you decided to divert the electricity which was clearly to your financial gain.

“The fact is that those who produce cannabis have to accept the consequences of their actions.”

He sentenced Keane to eight months, suspended for 24 months, and ordered him to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work.

“You have your fate in your hands for the next 24 months,” he told Keane. “It’s very rare for people to be given a second chance.”