Hobby cannabis grower from Axminster busted after he 'got greedy'

Exeter Crown Court; Picture by Terry Ife ref exe 0931-33-10TI

Exeter Crown Court; Picture by Terry Ife ref exe 0931-33-10TI - Credit: Archant

A cannabis grower who turned his hobby into a small business was caught by police after he ‘got greedy’ and started selling his surplus crop.

David Challis was found with 38 plants with a potential yield worth £10,500 and around £4,000 worth of cannabis from previous crops, some of which had been turned into sweets which were in his freezer.

He told police who raided his home in Axminster: “I knew this was going to happen. I just got greedy.”

The plants were growing in three tents in a back bedroom with a hydroponic set-up, lights and ventilation. Two school-age children who visited the property had been banned from going in there.

Police also recovered bags ready for sale, scales, and a phone which showed he had been dealing to a circle of users for a short time.

Challis, aged 36, of Flax Meadow Lane, Axminster, admitted producing cannabis, possessing it with intent to supply, and personal possession of cocaine and ketamine.

He was jailed for a year, suspended for 18 months, ordered to do 200 hours unpaid community work and to pay £250 costs by Judge Timothy Rose at Exeter Crown Court.

Most Read

He told him: “You started this as something of a hobby and got carried away and were probably making a handy income. This was nonetheless a really serious offence.

“I am very concerned that children were round and about the house at times. I accept they were not allowed access to the growing room but police found cannabis all over the house.

“I know you said that you supervised them, but it was reckless at the very least and you should never have allowed that situation to happen.”

Thomas Faulkner, prosecuting, said police received information about cannabis growing and raided Challis’s home on November 2 last year, arresting him as he left for work at 7.30am.

He showed them his growing room in a back bedroom which contained 38 plants and the facility to grow seedlings. Other quantities of cannabis were found elsewhere in the house, including cannabis laced sweets in the freezer.

An analysis of his phone showed many messages with people asking for cannabis or arranging to pick it up.

Evie Dean, defending, said Challis had sunk to a low point in his life after his newly set up decorating business fell victim to lockdown and he broke up with his partner.

He was already a cannabis user and started growing his own because he could no longer afford to buy it. He saw it as a hobby, growing different varieties, but the venture got out of hand.

He has been waiting to see the outcome of this case before going back into business.