POLICE who raided a house in Breightmet found a living room packed with 30 mature cannabis plants.

Bolton Crown Court heard how Maceo Williams was also at the semi-detached property in Barchester Avenue, Breightmet, acting as a gardener.

He was arrested pleaded guilty to producing cannabis.

David Farley, prosecuting, told how police, with a warrant, visited the house at 10.25am on March 1 last year.

“Officers opened the door to see, what turned out to be, 20 quite mature cannabis plants growing in the front room in a tent. It looked quite professional, “ said Mr Farley.

On Maceo’s phone were a serious of text messages.

“They were all about how to cultivate cannabis,” said Mr Farley.

When questioned by police 42-year-old Williams said he had been homeless and was offered a place to stay and some money if he would make sure the plants did not die.

“Although the defendant may have been given money from time to time he wouldn’t have been profiting, it’s fair to say, from the sale of the drugs,” said Mr Farley.

Chudi Grant, defending, said Williams, now of Wellington Road, Crumpsall, has previous convictions and had struggled to find work after being released from prison.

“He was only able to obtain casual work and it’s against that backdrop that he finds himself in court,” he said.

He added that Williams, who admitted to drinking and taking drugs, was in financial difficulties and was sofa surfing.

”It is those sort of individuals that those further up the chain, so to speak, seem to take advantage of,” said Mr Grant.

Recorder Neville Biddle sentenced Williams to nine months in prison, suspended for 12 months, ordered him to undertake 60 hours of unpaid work and participate in 20 days of rehabilitation activities.