A STOURPORT window cleaner arrested on drugs charges claimed at Worcester Crown Court that he was intending to start a hydroponic business on a Stourport industrial estate.

Simon Cooper said he had spent £8,000 on a legitimate venture but had been let down by a partner, who had dropped out at the last minute.

Michael Conry, prosecuting, said police had discovered cannabis plants, scales and resealable plastic bags when they raided the premises in Sandy Lane,Titton.

Cooper, 45, of Hodfar Road, Stourport, pleaded guilty to producing cannabis but the Crown did not accept his basis of plea that he had no intention of selling the drug commercially.

After a trial of issue hearing, Judge Michael Cullum accepted that Cooper had been working as a window clear with a successful business but rejected the suggestion that cannabis had been grown just for personal use. He ordered a pre-sentence report and bailed Cooper until August 22.

Mr Conry said police discovered 13 cannabis plants and a crop which could have had a street value of £9,700. Cooper argued that the surplus had been supplied to friends, who had given donations towards the cost of electricity.

Cooper told the court that he had decided to go into the hydroponic business because there could be a 100 per cent mark-up on the sale of equipment. The object was not to grow cannabis but peppers, chillies and lettuce.

He had started growing a few plants to showcase potential customers. He admitted that he had started using cannabis three years ago after the break-up with his former partner. After a "bad experience" in Birmingham, when he was robbed, he had decided to grow his own. He had given cannabis to friends at a family party.

Jason Patel, for Cooper, submitted that there had never been an intention to produce cannabis on a commercial scale.