Convicted burglar jailed for cannabis factory - Stevenage


A burglar who had been given the chance to come off drugs opened up a cannabis factory at his home in Stevenage.

Simon Day, aged 26, who had a £300 a week cocaine habit, had been put on the Choices and Consequences programme, which aims to stop prolific criminals offending by tackling their drug addiction. But in May this year the police found 42 cannabis seedlings and growing equipment in his loft at Cheviot Way.

Today, Wednesday, 16 July 2014, at St Albans Crown Court, Judge Andrew Bright QC jailed him for a total of four years.

Prosecutor Neil King said that Day and another man were involved in two high value burglaries in September 2012. They broke into a 4 bed house in Athenaeum Road, Barnet by forcing a UPVC kitchen window. Money and keys to the owner's Jaguar were taken from inside. The men, who had arrived in a hire car, taken out under a false name, also stole the car. The total loss was over £36,000. Watches and Asian jewellery were then taken in another targeted burglary at a house in Broughton Hill, Letchworth. Day was linked to the burglaries through phone evidence and the hire car rental.

When he appeared in court, Day admitted two burglaries and asked for 76 others to be taken into consideration. These went back to 2009 and involved cars, motorbikes and jewellery.

In June last year, Day was placed on the C2 programme and received a 3 year supervision order with a drug rehabilitation requirement, a curfew and unpaid work. He breached the order in January this year and was given more unpaid work.

Mr King said that on 16 May Day's girlfriend heard the noise of fans in their loft. She discovered the cannabis factory and confronted him. They rowed again the next morning and she recorded the confrontation on her mobile phone. When Day was at court on 19 May for an update on his progress under the C2 programme, his girlfriend took the opportunity to call the police in Stevenage, said the prosecutor. He was arrested and said he was growing the cannabis for other people to pay off previous drug debts.

When he appeared for magistrates' he pleaded guilty to assaulting his girlfriend and cultivating cannabis. He pleaded guilty to assault by beating her on the day of the trial. Magistrates' fined him £250 for the assault and made a restraining order banning him from contacting her. They sent the cannabis case for sentence at the Crown Court.

Day admitted he had breached the C2 programme and had been committed for the cannabis offence when he appeared before the judge. He had 30 convictions for 61 offences.

Alan Walmsley, defending, said: "Despite the efforts of all concerned to get him off drugs he has continued offending. He recognises he is looking at a significant period of custody." He said Day had been battling a £300 a week cocaine and cannabis addiction.

Judge Bright said that Day had made "reasonable progress" at the start of the programme. But he went on: "Tests showed you were using Class A drugs as well as cannabis." He told him he had an appalling record and sentenced him to 3 years for the burglaries with a further year for the cannabis factory.

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