A MAN who rented a local flat so a cannabis farm could be established was jailed for 12 months today, Friday.

Christopher Byrne paid a deposit and two months’ rent on the property in Chapel Street, Leigh, at the beginning of July last year, Liverpool Crown Court heard.

Harry Pepper, prosecuting, said: “Police raided the flat on August 18 and in two rooms found a total of 98 cannabis plants in various stages of growth.

“They also discovered that sophisticated lighting and ventilation systems had been installed for the illicit crop along with transformers”

Byrne, who is aged 27 and from Leigh, was arrested and when interviewed, admitted he had rented the flat to someone else for growing cannabis in return for half the profit.

Phil Martin, defending, said that Byrne, who pleaded guilty to being concerned in producing cannabis, had been under considerable coercion to get involved.

He said: “He was a heavy user of drugs and had run up an £8,000 debt. He would not have received any money for his involvement as his payment would have been knocked off his drug debt.

“Byrne, who has previous convictions, is now drug free but he still has the drug debt hanging over him.”