WHEN police were called to a drunken disturbance outside a Stroud flat they stumbled upon a £12,000 cannabis factory, a court was told on Wednesday.

Edward Fox, 52, of Middle Street, Stroud, pleaded guilty at Cheltenham Magistrates Court to being concerned in the production of the Class B drug and to abstracting electricity without authority.

The offences were committed at the defendant’s address on June 26 this year.

Prosecuting lawyer Peter Ashby said: “Police went to the disturbance outside the defendant’s flat at 10.40pm and found a drunken male shouting that his girlfriend had been kidnapped and was inside the property.

“Police went inside the flat and found that they could not get into a room where they suspected that the woman might be so they used a door enforcer to get in.”

The court heard that nobody was inside but it was full of cannabis plants and growing equipment - and the electricity supply in the flat had been tampered with.

Fox was arrested and the 17 cannabis plants discovered were analysed by a police expert.

“The possible yield from the plants was, at street value, between £4,000 and £12,000,” said Mr Ashby.

Fox had previously been jailed for three years in 2008 for possessing heroin with intent to supply, he said.

Defending lawyer Lee Mott said: “My client suffers from painful arthritis in his knees and he has found that cannabis eases the pain.

“He does not grow cannabis in order to supply but just for his own personal use.”

Magistrates ordered a pre-sentence report to be prepared and adjourned the case until December 18.

Fox was granted unconditional bail.