A WINDOW cleaner who tried to set up a cannabis-growing business in a unit on a Stourport industrial estate has walked free from Worcester Crown Court.

Simon Cooper admitted cultivation of the drug but claimed he had intended to set up a legitimate hydroponic business and did not intend to sell cannabis commercially.

Cooper, 45, of Hodfar Road, Sandy Lane, Titton, Stourport, was given a 12-month jail sentence suspended for 12 months. He was ordered to do 200 hours unpaid work and to pay £1,200 costs.

Prosecutor Paul Whitfield said police raided the unit on January 20 this year and found 13 cannabis plants being grown hydroponically. There was also a quantity of dried plant and it was estimated that it could have been sold for between £3,500 and £10,000.

Jason Patel, for Cooper, said he had built up a successful window cleaning business over 12 years but had resorted to the use of cannabis and alcohol after domestic trouble. After a frightening experience in Birmingham, he had decided to grow his own.

Judge Michael Cullum said he rejected the argument that Cooper was growing for his own use. He intended to profit so that he could recoup a business debt of £8,000 when a prospective partner dropped out.

A combination of alcohol and cannabis had clouded his judgement.