A FATHER of six is facing a spell in jail after admitting growing almost 100 cannabis plants in a bedroom and a converted loft space at his home.

Police raided the home of Antony Sherman, in London Road, Stanway, after securing a drugs warrant.

Once inside the property officers found what they called a sophisticated growing operation which included roughly 97 plants, some of which were at the drying stage of production.

Following the raid, Sherman was arrested and charged with production of a Class B drug.

He admitted the charge at Colchester Magistrates’ Court yesterday.

Kathy Wilson, prosecuting, said: “On March 25 police officers executed a warrant to look for drugs at an address in London Road, Colchester.

“When they searched the premises they found the bedrooms had been converted for the purpose of growing cannabis and also there was a room in the loft which had been converted for that purpose.

“In the first bedroom there were 40 large pots with plants and from the ceiling more were hanging with flowering buds.

“Those were in the drying process and they were drying out ready to be cut and packaged.”

The court heard in the loft room there were at least 57 healthy plants, the size of which varied between six and ten inches.

Heat lamps and other cultivation equipment were also found at the address.

Sherman, who turned up at his home while police were raiding the property, said he was growing the cannabis for personal use.

The 42-year-old suffers from depression and anxiety after being run over several years ago.

Ms Wilson said: “In his interview he said he was smoking

28g of cannabis a week due to his mental health and depression.

“He said the crop in the loft was the last crop he was growing and once it had matured he was going to return the property to normal.

“He said he did not intend to sell the cannabis . I submit the offence falls outside the powers of this court and I would submit it should be sent to the crown court for sentence.”

Magistrates declined jurisdiction over the case.

Sherman will be sentenced at Chelmsford Crown Court on Thursday, May 23.