A COVENTRY man who had burning oil in his face in a kitchen accident tried to raise the money he needed for cosmetic surgery – by setting up a cannabis factory.
And after accepting there appeared to be ‘at least an explanation’ for what he was doing, a judge at Warwick Crown Court gave Mohammed Razek a suspended sentence.
Razek (32) of Thornhill Road, Foleshill, Coventry, had pleaded guilty to producing cannabis and abstracting electricity by by-passing the meter.
He was sentenced to 10 months in prison suspended for 12 months and ordered to do 100 hours of unpaid work and to take part in a rehabilitation activity.
Prosecutor Jennifer Josephs said that in May the police went to the terraced house where Razek was living and saw the front windows covered in condensation, and with plastic sheeting over them.
There was a strong smell of cannabis, and in the back garden were bags containing cannabis waste.
They began to force their way in, at which Razek shouted that he was coming out, and he was then arrested.
Inside they found one of the bedrooms was being used for growing cannabis, with 19 almost-mature plants which it was estimated could have yielded a crop worth, depending on how it was sold, between £4,000 and £11,000.
A second bedroom had been used as a drying room for a previous crop, and there were bags containing 826 grams of dried cannabis – worth more than £8,000 in one-gram deals.
Razek, who admitted setting up the operation after researching it on the internet, had also by-passed the electric meter for the high-powered growing lights he had installed.
When he was interviewed, he said he wanted to raise money to pay for cosmetic surgery to scars on his face.
His barrister Simon Hunka said: “He cuts something of a sorry figure. He had always been a waiter in Indian restaurants until a point at which there was an incident at home involving burning oil on his face.
“It blocked the pores to such an extent that he has skin issues, and it really affected his self-esteem. He had comments made to him, with people asking if he had a drug addiction because of his skin.
“He found he was not able to function as a waiter, and his employers decided to let him go.
“He had some savings, and decided what he needed to do was to get his skin sorted out – but then saw how much cosmetic surgery would cost.
“This is the first time he has done anything wrong in his life. He wasn’t thinking of the rights and wrongs of it, but as a way out of his problem.
“What he did was fairly amateurish, and he didn’t really know how to get rid of the drug. He knew one person, and thought he could give it all to him and get some money for it.”
Mr Hunka added that Razek now lives with his parents, and is helping his father who suffers from vascular Parkinsonism.
Sentencing Razek, Deputy Judge Michael Stokes QC told him: “You had set up a not insignificant cannabis grow. You had already cropped one grow, and there were 19 more plants recovered by the police in May.
“Undoubtedly, had the second crop come to fruition, you would have had several thousand pounds worth of cannabis.
“You say you were doing this to make money to pay for cosmetic surgery to your face following an accident when you suffered burns from oil.
“You knew perfectly well what you were doing was illegal, and the only question that arises is whether the inevitable prison sentence can be suspended.
“But you have no previous convictions, you have family problems with your father’s condition, and there appears to be at least an explanation for what you were doing.”
Support community journalism by making a contribution
The Coventry Observer's team of journalists provide a trusted source of news, sport, entertainment and events going on in your area and issues which matter to you - both via our free weekly print edition and daily updates on our website.
Every contribution, however big or small, you can make will help us continue to do that now and in the future.
Thanks for reading this and the Coventry Observer.