A HARD-UP mum who was promised riches if she allowed her home to be used to create a cannabis factory narrowly avoided prison yesterday (Thursday, June 28).

Margaret Grant-Allen was told a quarter share of the profits from the North Yorkshire drug venture would be worth as much as £4,000 to her.

Teesside Crown Court heard the yield from the 20-plant crop - had it not been found by police - would have been between £6,300 and £9,000.

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Grant-Allen, 48, of Nursery Gardens, Thirsk, was said by her lawyer to have been "desperate" last summer after filing for bankruptcy in March.

Philip Knowlson, 49, of nearby Newlands Court, sold the fans, venting, lamps and transformers used to grow the plants to a third-party.

Judge Howard Crowson heard how the mastermind of the plan has never been caught - but he said he was off the mark with his valuation.

Graham Silvester, for Grant-Allen, said: "It is sad, really. It is all about money. Desperate people do desperate things, and she was desperate in her view of the situation."

Robin Turton, for Knowlson, said he did not know the woman but had been approached to provide the equipment to help the grow.

"Unlike many people before the court, the defendant has said 'I've got myself into this position and I only have myself to blame," said Mr Turton.

Knowlson admitted possessing and producing Class B drugs, and was given a nine-month prison sentence, suspended for 12 months.

Judge Crowson also ordered him to do 120 hours of unpaid work for the community and pay £500 towards the cost of the case.

Grant-Allen got an eight-month jail term, also suspended for a year, and will have to carry out 150 hours of community work.

She pleaded guilty to a charge of producing Class B drugs in the garage of her former home in Station Road, Thirsk.