Dec 19 2013 by Sophie McCoid, Skelmersdale Advertiser
A TENANT who was growing cannabis in his West Lancashire Borough Council flat and owed more than £2,000 in rent arrears has been evicted following a drugs raid at his property.
Lancashire Police found 12 cannabis plants and a snap bag containing cannabis bush when they executed a drugs warrant at the home of 38-year-old Raymond Doyle on Whitburn, Skelmersdale.
Officers also found a clipboard containing a list of the plants and growing times and other drug related paraphernalia.
On July 15, Mr Doyle pleaded guilty to cannabis production and possession at Ormskirk Magistrates Court and was fined £250 as well as being ordered to pay £85 court costs and a victim surcharge of £35.
Prior to the court hearing the council served a notice seeking possession of Mr Doyle’s flat.
At Wigan County Court on October 28, District Judge Gordon granted possession of the flat to council and Mr Doyle was formally evicted on Monday, November 25.
Councillor David Sudworth, portfolio holder for Community Safety, said: “Producing cannabis is a drugs crime. It increases the amount of drugs on our streets and has links to organised crime, including burglary and the use of firearms.
“It causes major problems in our communities, including increased crime and violence.
“I hope people will be re-assured by the strong action we have taken to protect them.”
As well as breaching his tenancy agreement by producing cannabis in his flat Mr Doyle also owed the Council £2,246.53 in unpaid rent when the eviction hearing took place. Judge Gordon ordered that he pay back all the rent arrears plus costs of £301.75.
Wigan County Court heard that when Mr Doyle was interviewed by police he described himself as a “half-decent community minded individual and certainly not a drug dealer.” Mr Doyle said the cannabis bush contained in the snap bag was for his personal use. He claimed the cannabis plants were also his and he had obtained them with a view to growing his own cannabis rather than having to pay street prices for it.