23rd Oct, 2017

Woman's bedroom tax debt sparked spare room cannabis factory

Coventry Editorial 24th Apr, 2014 Updated: 28th Oct, 2016

A WOMAN allowed a spare room to be used as a cannabis factory because she had lost out on benefits through the bedroom tax.

One of the three bedrooms in Patricia Higgs’ city home had 30 plants in with a street value of more than £16,000.

The 49-year-old, of Tallants Road, had fallen into financial difficulty and had been offered £1,000 for the use of the bedroom – although she never saw any of the money.

She was given a community order with 12 months supervision at Warwick Crown Court after pleading guilty to permitting her premises to be used for the cultivation of cannabis.

Police had raided her house – where Higgs lived with her adult daughter and young grandson – in September last year.

Ian Windridge, defending, said she did it because she was in a three-bedroom property.

“She was in receipt of benefits, but she was not receiving full rent and council tax benefits because of the legislation on unoccupied rooms.”

He pointed out Higgs’ daughter was also arrested but denied any involvement whatsoever and, although she was charged, the case against her was dropped.

Sentencing Higgs, Recorder Martine Kushner told her: “You pleaded guilty at the first opportunity and, on top of that, I take the view that you are of previous good character.

“I also take into account that this has been hanging over you for the last six months or more.

“In my view you have a number of difficulties in your life, and you will have the benefit of support; but what must be marked is that this is a serious offence.

“I take the view you are not going to be back in this court again. You have learned a substantial lesson.”

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