Tenant charged over £38,000 cannabis farm set up by his landlord

DRUG FARM ... the property in St Vincent Street, South Shields, where cannabis with a street value of �38,000 was found.
DRUG FARM ... the property in St Vincent Street, South Shields, where cannabis with a street value of �38,000 was found.

a TENANT ended up in court on a drug charge after his landlord operated a £38,000 cannabis farm at his home.

Johnathan Bulman admitted the “technical possession” of the haul of Class B drugs when he appeared before South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court.

GAVIN BENOS ... owned the house where the cannabis farm was set up.

GAVIN BENOS ... owned the house where the cannabis farm was set up.

The court was told that the 31-year-old was aware Gavin Benos was running the farm from his property in St Vincent Street, South Shields, but had no involvement in its production and made no financial gain.

He had kept quiet over Benos’s actions as he didn’t have enough money to secure another property – and feared he would end up homeless if he spoke out.

Benos admitted two charges of production of a Class B drug – at the St Vincent Street address belonging to his grandparents and at his mother’s home in Seton Avenue, South Shields – when he appeared before the court in February.

He is due to be sentenced at Newcastle Crown Court later this month.

Bulman was given a conditional discharge by magistrates after admitting possession of cannabis from November 6 of last year.

John McGlone, prosecuting, said: “The charge is a technical possession of drugs. The situation is that the defendant was tenant at an address in St Vincent Street.

“The landlord Gavin Benos set up a cannabis farm in that property, with a potential yield of £38,000.

“Bulman knew it was there but didn’t have much control over the situation. That’s the basis on which he has pleaded guilty.”

Paul Kennedy, defending, said: “Police had information which gave them cause to search the address in Seton Avenue, where they found a cannabis farm.

“Subsequent enquiries led them to the property in St Vincent Street. Benos has pleaded guilty to production of the cannabis farm. Bulman had no involvement.

“It is technical possession.

“That’s why he has pleaded guilty because he knew the drugs were there and knew what they were. He was the tenant, he was unable to stop the landlord setting up the farm.

“The cannabis farm wasn’t there when he moved in. He had no other accomodation or the money for a bond to move into another property.

“Morally, he should’ve told police, legally, he doesn’t have to. It was a difficult situation for him.

Bulman, now of Seafield Terrace, South Shields, was given a six-month conditional discharge.

Twitter: @shieldsgazchris