A transgender woman caught minding a valuable cannabis crop was desperate for cash to pay for botox and fund her transition into a new lifestyle.

Brenda Law, 64, agreed to allow her home to be used by organised criminals after beginning to struggle with "mounting debts."

But she told a hearing at Liverpool Crown Court that she “didn’t have the balls” to run such an enterprise herself.

Law had admitted two counts of producing cannabis, but had to go into the witness box to convince a judge she was not the brains behind the operation after the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) refused to accept her version of events.

Law, who served in the Royal Navy for nine years, told how she had been approached by two men offering her £5,000 to allow cannabis to be grown in her home for 10 weeks.

Brenda Law, 64, outside Liverpool Crown Court after receiving a suspended prison sentence for producing cannabis

Law said she agreed due to her expensive ongoing “transitioning” costs but claimed she did not realise the scale of the proposed farm

She said although one of the criminals mentioned a growing tent she said she "did not expect it to be large enough to park a car."

The court heard that Brenda, formerly known as Brendan, had a previous conviction 15 years ago for possessing cannabis with intent to supply and it was suggested by prosecutor Nardeen Nemat that she would know how to grow and sell the drug.

But she explained that while she used to be a heavy cannabis smoker, she had given up the habit four years ago.

Law said: “I was in the process of smoking myself to death. I was trying to find mental head space having the challenge of my life.”

Some of the signs that cannabis is being grown, according to Merseyside Police,  are: 

• Strange smells and sounds 


• Frequent and varied visitors to a property, often at unusual times 
• Gardening equipment being taken into a property, such as plant pots, fertiliser, fans and industrial lighting 
• Windows are sealed and covered or the curtains are permanently closed 
• Heat from an adjoining property 
• Birds gathering on a roof in cold weather 
• Individually these activities may seem commonplace, however, together may indicate something more sinister

Law, who has now been transitioning for four years, said she would not know anyone to sell weed to, adding, “I haven’t got the balls to grow it myself.”

She agreed to water and feed the illicit cannabis farm for the men, who she knew went around setting up farms for a few weeks and then moving on, as she was vulnerable and desperate for money, having rent arrears and a £2,000 debt for electrolysis.

She had also spent money improving her home in Hampton Road, Southport - where police found the farm - as a 98-year-old woman friend, whom she helps, was due to move in.

Law said she had also spent money on facial botox, fillers and learning about fashion and make-up to help in her new life.

A former classic car enthusiast, Law said she had had 17 such cars at one time but had had to sell them.

Brenda Law, 64, outside Liverpool Crown Court after receiving a suspended prison sentence for producing cannabis

While in the Royal Navy, serving as an able seaman, radar operator and diver, she travelled all around the world but told Judge David Aubrey, QC,: “I have sold everything I had got. This journey has been the most important journey of my whole life.”

She said she agreed to house the farm as “I was in a desperate situation, clutching at straws. Gender re-assignment has cost me everything I had and there are on-going costs.”

The court heard that in her police interview, although advised by her lawyer to make no comment, Law said she had not “brought the plants into the world” but did not dare tell the police more as she was living in fear for her life.

Miss Nemat told how police stopped her after seeing her carrying a black bin bag after leaving her van in Grove Street, Southport on December 28, 2018.

They smelt cannabis and officers found nine cannabis plants in the van and a further six in her dad’s nearby home, where she was living while renovation work was carried out at her home.

When officers went to those premises they found a further 44 plants, bringing the overall potential street value to around £35,000. 

Law, whose dad and friends were in the public gallery, told the judge that apart from giving her £1,000 for her rent arrears the criminals did not pay any more rent and unknown to her they had fiddled her electricity meter to get free power.

She added: “I regret bumping into those fellows.”

After hearing her evidence Judge Aubrey said: "I am satisfied you were telling the truth about how it was and why it was you were in possession of those plants...

“For a number of months if not a number of years you had had challenging issues.

Judge David Aubrey, QC, at Liverpool Crown Court

"You are currently going through transition and having re-constructive surgery. I accept you have a further appointment in a few days time. These are significant matters in this case."

He added that the elderly lady relies heavily on her for care and immediate custody for the defendant would have a detrimental affect on her.

The judge said it was a serious matter, but suspended a 20 month jail term for two years and ordered her to carry out 30 days rehabilitation activities “to assist you with the challenges I have already made reference.”

She had pleaded guilty to two offences of cultivating cannabis.

Speaking to a reporter after the hearing, Law gave a warning to other vulnerable people and said: “If you come across some people as I did just say ‘no, no way’.

"They are very persuasive but just walk away.”