Wife 'knew nothing of £40k drug factory in Torquay attic'
A FAMILY man created a secret room in his attic where he grew cannabis worth £40,000, a court has been told.
Justin Braye, 42, cultivated 101 plants in his house in Lichfield Avenue in Torquay.
He took so much care partitioning the loft that when police found the secret operation they described it as the 'neatest room in the house'.
Braye, who admitted production of the class B drug, was jailed for four months at Exeter Crown Court.
The court was told police executed a warrant at his house on March 9 this year.
Prosecutor Janice Eagles said: "Police searched his house and one of the officers said he wasn't able to smell cannabis in the house until he got into the loft.
"This is quite unusual when a large quantity of cannabis is being produced.
"The defendant had set up quite a sophisticated growing area in the room he had partitioned in half."
She said the plants were in different stages of growth made up of 24 seedlings, 36 immature plants, 40 mature plants and one mother plant.
Police estimated they would have produced 4kg of drugs with a street value of £40,000.
Ms Eagles said his wife was aware Braye had a cannabis habit but did not know he was growing it in the loft.
Ceylan Bayram, mitigating, said: "He made efforts to partition off his loft and one of the officers said it was the neatest part of the whole house."
Braye said he smoked cannabis to ease his panic attacks but now thought this just made the problem worse and had not taken the drug since his arrest.
Judge Barry Cotter QC said: "This was not a question of a few plants kept somewhere in your house, this was a clearly sophisticated, albeit for personal use, operation.
"It appears you've been growing them for some years in your attic.
"It is accepted by the prosecution that they were for your personal use with no financial gain.
"Clear care had been taken to partition the loft and keep them away from your family.
"However, the production of drugs in this quantity is a very serious matter."
He said he would make the sentence as 'merciful' as possible and four months was lenient considering the circumstances.