A mother who was caught with a cannabis farm at her home tried to throw police off the scent by saying it was the noise of her sunbed.

Officers went to Emma Carter’s home in Salford looking for a wanted man for an unrelated matter. But then they heard a humming noise coming from a first floor bedroom, which Emma, 41, claimed was her daughter using the tanning machine, a court heard this week.

Led by their noses, the police officers thought they could smell marijuana so went into the bedroom where they found 20 plants of skunk growing in the bedroom. The humming noise was from the electrical hydroponic equipment that was being used to help the crop worth around £16,500.

Carter claimed the drugs were for her own medicinal use but later insisted it was set up because she owed money to her ex-boyfriend Anthony Sheffield. He was in prison at the time of the raid on December 28, 2018, and was not charged with offences.

In a statement Carter said: ‘I was put under pressure to allow others to set up and farm at my house due to debts I owed to my former partner Anthony Sheffield who was in prison at the time.

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‘I was not responsible for taking care of the plants and I was not going to receive any financial benefit.’

Prosecutor Simone Flynn said: ‘She appears to fall within a lesser role and there was some pressure or coercion.’

Carter’s lawyer Stephen Williams said: ‘This defendant is clearly a vulnerable woman. She is a single parent looking after two children. She is unfortunate and has been the victim of more than one abusive relationship.

‘She found herself in a position where she was under a lot of pressure, had misplaced loyalty to him and allowed herself to be used.

‘She is a woman who needs support, craves support and responds to support. She is a woman who can reform.’

Sentencing Judge Richard Mansell QC said: ‘You were involved in the farm under direction and some pressure. I am not going to send you to prison and am going to make a community order instead.

‘You need help and have had difficulties over the years. You have been treated badly in relationships and subject to violence. I am happy you can be monitored in the community.’