A HARD-UP Pickering man was tempted by offers of easy cash and allowed drug dealers to grow cannabis at an industrial unit in the town.

James Hesleton, of College View, Pickering, appeared at York Crown Court on Monday charged with being concerned with the production of cannabis.

The court heard that self-employed steel fabricator Hesleton, 35, was approached by unknown men twice before he agreed to let them use the upper floor of a storage unit he rented, in return for around £1,000 a month.

Prosecutor Nick Adlington said the site was discovered when a member of the public spotted an open door and called the police, believing it to be a break-in.

When officers arrived they found a cannabis farm including lights, sprinklers, tents and around 28 young cannabis plants.

Paperwork later led them to Hesleton, who rented the unit for his own business, but he refused to name the men responsible for the cannabis.

In defence, Julia Harrow, said: “Mr Hesleton refused at first, then under financial pressure he accepted.”

He had never been in control of the production of cannabis, but admitted watering the plants once, she added.

The judge in the case Recorder Jeremy Hill-Baker gave him an eightmonth prison sentence suspended for two years and ordered him to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work.

The judge added: “You have already been to prison a long time ago, and you have come that close to going again.”