MORE than 50 cannabis plants with a potential street value of £39,000 were found during a police raid on a house, a court heard.

There was a strong smell of the drug outside the property owned by joiner Mark Christopher Axon in Fairfield Road, Broughton.

Axon, 27, of Cheyney Street, Chester, denies the production of the class B drug and said he had rented the house out to tenants.

But a jury at Mold Crown Court was told the prosecution would call evidence from neighbours to say the only people they saw at the house were Axon and another man, who had already admitted being involved in producing the cannabis.

Karl Scholz, prosecuting, said the man, Stephen Leonard Roberts, 41, would be called to give evidence.

Opening the case, Mr Scholz said two police officers went to the address and there was a strong smell of cannabis outside. They returned with a warrant, forced entry and found two bedrooms on the first floor had been converted into a cannabis factory.

In one bedroom police found 27 cannabis plants each growing in a separate pot.

There were 24 plants in another bedroom.

They were all between 1.20 and 1.30 metres high and all were being watered.

There were 600 watt lights providing heating and lighting, extractor fans and other equipment, and the electricity meter had been bypassed.

Four plants were sent off for forensic examination and it was estimated that if all plants had come to fruition they would provide a potential street value in excess of £39,000, said Mr Scholz.

Arrested and interviewed, Axon said he was a £15,000 a year joiner who owned three properties. He and his children had once lived in the house in Fairfield Road.

His wife left him and he lived in one of the other houses he owned.

Axon said he had rented out the property for £400 a month. If anyone was growing cannabis at the house then it must have been his tenants, he said.

But it was the prosecution case Axon had made up the story about tenants, said Mr Scholz. He said the jury would hear from Roberts, of Raymond Street, Chester, who had already pleaded guilty to being involved in the production of cannabis at the house after his fingerprint was found on a glove, that he had helped Axon set out the rooms with a view to cannabis being cultivated.