A POLICE dog being taken for a walk sniffed out cannabis plants being grown near Helston.
Nicholas Townsend, of Pednavounder, Coverack, was found to be cultivating the Class B drug in a shed near his home while police officers were on an unrelated job.
The 28-year-old was sentenced at Truro Crown Court on Thursday for stealing electricity and growing the plants, which were up to 3ft tall and worth an estimated £5,000.
Ramsay Quaife, for the Crown Prosecution Service, said that PC Ian Tolchard was in the grounds of the Old Nuclear Bunker, near Coverack, on August 2 when he decided to take his drugs detection dog Spingo for a walk.
The canine quickly sniffed out Townsend's operation.
Mr Quaife said within minutes Spingo was showing a great deal of interest in a shed which was near to a caravan.
PC Tolchard could smell cannabis and saw light coming from the door so he went into the building.
Mr Quaife said: "He could see straight away that it had been converted for growing cannabis."
The officer could also see that a power source had been taken through the wall and led to a non-standard fuse box.
Mr Quaife said: "The police being busy, returned to what had taken them to that (area).
"The police returned the following morning and when they returned that building was all but empty.
"Vegetation was no longer present and there was only a few electrical items on the floor."
Townsend arrived while police were at the site in his car, where officers could see a cannabis leaf in the passenger footwell. Townsend was arrested and in interview admitted that they were his plants, grown for his own use.
Mr Quaife said Townsend had admitted to having up to 25 plants.
Terry Eastwood, for the defence, said Townsend smoked a lot of cannabis and this was his first attempt at growing the drug.
Townsend was sentenced to a 12-month community order and supervision by the probation service for offences of cannabis production and dishonestly extracting electricity.
He was also ordered to take part in a drug rehabilitation programme.