A man caught working in a cannabis farm in a Swansea house had been offered £4,000 to look after the crop, a court has heard. Dimitrios Zouloumis's advocate said the out of work defendant was in debt and "jumped at the opportunity" to make the cash for three months' work.

Swansea Crown Court heard the 37-year-old was arrested in March this year after police went to a property near Swansea's Guildhall as part of an unrelated investigation. On entering the house the officers noticed an "overwhelming smell of cannabis" and saw lights on in upstairs rooms. A search of the Francis Street house revealed three upstairs bedrooms had been given over to the cultivation of cannabis with a total of 59 plants in a healthy condition along with associated growing lamps and fans. In a bag in the kitchen were 276g of harvested cannabis bud, a DVD case containing seeds, and a smashed mobile phone. The electricity supply to the property had been bypassed.

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In his subsequent police interview the defendant said he had been unable to find work but a man named Christophe had approached him and offered him £4,000 for three months' work tending the plants. He said he had been taken to the property where the growing operation was already established, and had been shown how to feed the plants and operate the lamps. He said Christophe had given him a phone and money for food.

Dimitrios Zouloumis, of Eaton Crescent, Brynmill, Swansea, had previously pleaded guilty to producing cannabis when he appeared in the dock for sentencing. He has six previous convictions for nine offences, the last being driving matters from June 2023. Dan Griffiths, for Zouloumis, said it was accepted a custodial sentence was inevitable in the case and the mitigation he could put forward would go only to length.

He said after losing his driving licence the defendant had been unable to hold down stable employment and found himself falling into debt. He said by the time the man referred to as Christophe made Zouloumis the offer of £4,000 for three months' work his client was desperate and had "jumped at the opportunity" - though the advocate added that whether the defendant would ever have received that money was a "moot point". Mr Griffiths said though Zouloumis knew what he was doing was illegal he had not perhaps appreciated the seriousness of it, and he said his client had been "somewhat naïve".

Recorder Victoria Hillier said it was accepted the defendant had not established the cannabis growing operation but she said its "professional nature" must have been clear to him. With a one-third discount for his guilty plea Zouloumis was sentenced to 20 months in prison - he will serve up to half that sentence in custody before being released on licence to serve the remainder in the community. For the latest court reports, sign up to our crime newsletter here

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