A MAN who went from buying a cannabis plant "at a car boot sale" to setting up a sophisticated drug factory in his garden has failed to have his jail term cut on appeal.

Derek John Wicks, 49, claimed he grew 34 cannabis plants and set up the factory - capable of producing almost £46,000 worth of drugs a year for his own use, because he "did not want to associate with drug dealers".

The businessman, of Westfield Crescent, Thurnscoe, was jailed for two years by Judge Peter Kelson QC at Sheffield Crown Court in March after he admitted producing a Class B drug.

Lord Justice Leveson said Wicks led police to a large, brick outbuilding when they raided his home in May of last year.

Behind a hidden passage, officers found a "hydroponic cannabis cultivation set up" with 34 plants, 13 high-intensity lights, an irrigation system, oil-filled radiators, an extractor and books on cannabis production.

As well as £4,000 found in a safe, a forensic expert said the plants could immediately yield 1.5kg of cannabis, worth £15,300.

On arrest, Wicks said he had bought growing equipment and some of the plants "from a person at a car boot sale" for £250, but only for his personal use, setting up the massive operation "because he did not want to associate with drug dealers".

He pleaded guilty on that basis, but prosecutors disputed it. Judge Kelson agreed that his explanation was "implausible" and sentenced him on the basis he grew the drug for profit.