A father’s secret lair of more than £ 22,000 worth of cannabis plants was discovered by police officers while searching for his missing child, a court heard.

Officials came across Terrence Hollingshead’s makeshift cannabis factory during a visit to his Black Country home last year.

He’s outfitted a building in the back garden of his home in Wolverhampton with reflective material and grown the cannabis plants in a zippered tent, Dudley Magistrates’ Court was told.

The 35-year-old decided to buy cannabis seeds online to deal with debilitating back pain after it was “difficult” to find a drug dealer during the coronavirus pandemic.

A total of 34 cannabis plants – with a street value of up to £ 22,440 – were discovered in the father of four’s house on Cornwall Road, Prosecutor Valerie Hart said.

Ms. Hart said, “The officers visited Mr. Hollingshead and his partner’s address regarding a problem with his missing daughter.

“While they were there, they made a search of the premises and it led them to an outbuilding in the garden.

“The outbuilding had interior walls lined with silver reflective material, with a black zippered tent that contained 10 cannabis plants about two inches tall and about 24 plants six inches tall.

“The expert said that although it would be unusual for a breeder to grow 34 plants for sole use, she could not rule this out.

“Hollingshead accepted that the plants were his, that he was the only person who had access to the outhouse and had the key on his car key.

“He said he was not addicted to cannabis and did not want any assistance with it. It was only for his own use.”

Defense attorney John Derry said Hollingshead, who lives with his partner and children, is still battling a back injury sustained while working moving house.

He showed the court a card stating that the defendant was a “registered medical cannabis patient.”

Mr. Derry said, “He is a family man. The reason he grew this cannabis was for medical reasons.

“He found that he did not respond to normal doses of pain medication and decided to use cannabis to relieve that pain.

Read more: Truck Jobs Available – And Some Have £ 80,000 Salaries

“During Covid he found it very difficult to buy this so he went online, bought some seeds and grew 34 plants.

“He’s very naive. You did better than he expected and he’s absolutely amazed at how much cannabis is worth.”

Hollingshead, who had no criminal record, admitted on November 29th last year to being involved in the manufacture of cannabis, a class B drug.

He has been released on bail and is due to appear before Wolverhampton Crown Court on October 7th.

We send the latest court and crime updates directly to our email inbox every day – register here.