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Landlord who tried to blame tenant jailed for cannabis production

A landlord has been jailed for four years for cultivating cannabis.

Sixty-year-old James Sullivan was thought to have been overseeing the cultivation of a huge crop of the Class B drug, worth an estimated £70,000, in one of his properties in the south west.

The crop was discovered by passing police officers, who managed to sniff out the drugs from the street outside.


One force expert said that odour from the plants was almost ‘eye-watering’, the Plymouth Herald reports.

The defendant denied all knowledge of the drug crop, claiming he couldn’t smell a thing and that he couldn’t even grow a tomato. 

During the trial, the landlord attempted to blame one of his tenants, Joe Brown, whom he said rented the basement and a ground floor bedroom.

The court heard that Brown never paid rent and vanished.

Sullivan, who owns several properties, the majority of which are located in Torbay, Devon, boasted that he would not grow drugs as he did not need the money.

The production of the drugs is thought to have taken place between December 2012 and February 2013.

Former paratrooper Sullivan was tried alongside James Mckenna, who was jailed for six years for helping to grow the cannabis – and another crop in Torquay.

The jury convicted both defendants on all counts after a week-long trial in March.

Both men are appealing their convictions – but have started their jail terms.

Just last week an insurance firm issued a warning for landlords and agents to remain vigilant for  cannabis production in rental properties as figures show the police seized over 400,000 plants last year.


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