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Pensioner Escapes Jail After Growing Cannabis Worth £115,000 To Pay For His Funeral

Sydney Youngs suffers from a serious heart condition.

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Seventy-four-year-old Sydney Youngs was handed a two-year sentence suspended for 24 months on Monday after admitting to cannabis possession in a plot likened to the hit TV show Breaking Bad.

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The pensioner, who has a serious heart condition, is said to have concocted the scheme to pay for his funeral after struggling to pay off a £10,000 bank loan.

The Mirror reported that defence barrister Georgina Coade claimed Youngs had attended his nephew's funeral around the time he was diagnosed with chronic pulmonary heart disease. The paper wrote:

"That young man had died having debts and had what is commonly known as a pauper's funeral," she told Hull crown court.

"Mr Youngs saw the impact of that funeral on his family and how they had to pick up those debts.

"He was upset by this and the devastating effect on his family. He was concerned that he would leave his debt to his family as well."

It was at that point that Youngs began growing cannabis in home in Bridlington, East Yorkshire, the Daily Mail reported.

High Bridge Productions

The operation has been compared to the plot of Breaking Bad, in which the lead character, Walter White, played by Bryan Cranston, begins producing drugs to help provide for his family after being diagnosed with terminal cancer.

Youngs was eventually caught by the police in May, when officers seized cannabis worth an estimated £115,000 from his home.

Having pleaded guilty, the charity shop volunteer suffered a third heart attack on the day he was due to be sentenced, the Mail said.

When sentencing, recorder Eric Elliott QC referenced the fact Youngs had spent time in prison for theft and wounding with intent in 1960s and 70s, but said he had decided to be lenient given the pensioner's health.

He concluded: "At the age of 74, it's very sad to see a man who had managed to turn his life around back in court facing a charge like this."

Richard James is acting head of news for BuzzFeed Australia and is based in Sydney.

Contact Richard James at

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