Two men have been convicted of marketing and selling cannabis-growing equipment on the internet.
Jason Kirby and Michael Korn sold literature, growing systems and other equipment for the cultivation of cannabis plants.
The pair were tracked down by Derbyshire police on the back of a case last year involving two other men who were charged with running a city hydroponics business.
Police said paperwork found in this investigation alerted them to Kirby’s internet business, Thermal Grow UK, being run from Cambridgeshire, that had an annual turnover of about £200,000.
Derby Crown Court heard the equipment “was clearly intended to be used by those who were going to be growing drugs”.
Kirby, 38, had a warehouse in Cambridgeshire where he stored the equipment, which included a hydroponics growing system called Chameleon.
“It was a disguised integrated growing system, which looked like a wardrobe,” said Andrew Peet, prosecuting.
He added that some of the company’s foil – material necessary for growing plants – had a helicopter logo and a warning that if people used any other material they would be sent to jail.
Mr Peet said this indicated it was for growing cannabis plants, as they were suggesting the people would not want to be detected by the police.
Korn, 33, of Webb Street, Newstead Village, Nottingham, helped advertise the products.
Mr Peet said: “Mr Korn is in rather a unique position – albeit he sold a minimal amount of equipment. His main role was as a web designer to advertise.”
Korn, who is studying for a degree at Nottingham Trent University, and Kirby, of New Road, Chatteris, Cambridgeshire, admitted conspiring with another to incite the production of cannabis for 11 months between 2005 and 2006.
Stephen Ferguson, in mitigation, said Kirby had started his business legitimately. He added: “Ironically, if Mr Kirby had sold the same equipment slightly differently he would not have transgressed the criminal law. He crossed the line and that is why he’s here today.”
Clive Stockwell, for Korn, said the defendant admitted the offence as soon as he was interviewed by police and greatly regretted his involvement.
Kirby was jailed for 14 months and Korn was given a 10-month sentence, suspended for two years, and ordered to do 280 hours of unpaid work.
After the hearing, Steve Holme, Drug Market Mapping manager for Derbyshire police, said: “Although the equipment used to grow cannabis can also be used to grow other plants, suppliers will almost inevitably be approached by people wishing to break the law by growing cannabis for their own use or on a commercial basis.
“These convictions show that the police will not hesitate to prosecute those suppliers who do so.”