A cannabis farm was found by chance after police officers visited a house in an attempt to trace a former resident, Lincoln Crown Court was told.
Officers went to the four-bedroomed property in Pennygate, Spalding, in a bid to track down the man but found he was not there.
The only occupier, Balminder Singh, allowed officers in to check out the house and they became suspicious when they discovered the upstairs bedrooms were locked.
Mark Knowles, prosecuting, said that as a result police contacted the letting agent and learned that there were not supposed to be locks on the bedrooms.
Mr Knowles said “Entry had to be forced into the bedrooms. On entry the rooms were found to be a cannabis factory. It was a sophisticated growing operation with a total of 290 cannabis plants.
“The rooms had been converted and had lined walls, specialist lighting and ventilation. The mains supply had been bypassed to provide free electricity.”
He told the court that three of the bedrooms were used to grow cannabis and the fourth was used as a storage area for compost and equipment.
Further inquiries revealed that when Singh took on the tenancy he told the agents he was working and produced forged wage slips and bank statements to back up his story. He claimed he was moving his family up from London to live in the house.
Mr Knowles said that Singh handed over £1,650 to pay the first month rent and a deposit.
“He was from London with no ties to the area and no job.”
The court heard that Singh had previously served a six year jail sentence for possession of heroin with intent to supply and at the time of the Spalding offence was the subject of a suspended prison sentence imposed by a court in Germany for fraud.
Singh (32), of Birch Close, Canning Town, East London, admitted charges of producing cannabis and illegally abstracting electricity between October 1 and December 3, 2013. He also admitted two charges of using a forged instrument with intent. He was jailed for a total of 27 months.
Judge Michael Heath told him “This operation had the capacity to produce significant quantities of cannabis for commercial use.”
Neil Sands, defending, said Singh was not the main person behind the set-up.
“Having lost his job he found himself in debt to those providing him with cannabis.
“Having made threats to him they decided that he could repay this debt by being there as house manager. He had no influence on those above him in the chain.”