Man jailed for growing cannabis at Stamford car wash

Cannabis plants found in a raid on a garage in St Paul's Street, Stamford. Businessman Stephen Chandler, 57, of no fixed address, was jailed for 15 months as a result. Photo: Lincolnshire Police EMN-150819-120733001
Cannabis plants found in a raid on a garage in St Paul's Street, Stamford. Businessman Stephen Chandler, 57, of no fixed address, was jailed for 15 months as a result. Photo: Lincolnshire Police EMN-150819-120733001

A Stamford man who used his failing business as a cover for producing cannabis has been jailed for 15 months.

Stephen Chandler, 57, was caught after police found 44 cannabis plants at his leased car wash premises in St Paul’s Street.

On Monday Lincoln Crown Court heard Chandler set up a sophisticated cannabis growing operation after his business began to fail.

Noel Phylo, prosecuting, said: “It is clear Mr Chandler came to Stamford to reform his own life and run a legitimate business.

“That legitimate business ran in to trouble and unfortunately he decided to cure his financial difficulties by the commercial growing of cannabis.”

Mr Phylo added: “He was doing it in the back premises of a legitimate business.”

Police found 44 plants at or near cropping stage and half a kilo of drying cannabis. The car wash premises were demolished a short time after the drugs discovery when Chandler’s lease came to an end.

The court heard Chandler had stayed out of trouble since moving to Stamford from London in 1994 and immediately cooperated with the police.

In mitigation the court was told Chandler had pleaded guilty straight away and was suffering from a back condition which could result in the loss of use of his legs unless he has an operation.

Chandler, of no fixed address, admitted a charge of producing cannabis on June 4.

Passing sentence Recorder James Baird told him: “Police attended on your premises in St Paul’s Street in Stamford and they discovered a sophisticated set up.”

“It was not an insubstantial enterprise, there were 44 plants being grown,” the judge added.

“You were using your car wash valeting business as a cover.”