With a 40-a-day habit, Chris Gurney was so fed up forking out cash on cigarettes he decided to start growing his own tobacco.

With a packet of seeds he started his own tobacco plantation from a 90ft x 30ft allotment plot in South Croydon 10 years ago.

And now he makes a tidy profit selling seeds from his plants.

Since then the 63-year-old estimates he has saved himself around £30,000 a year on his habit and today he has people across the world buying seeds to grow their own tobacco over his website www.coffinails.com.

Chris, an upholsterer by trade, tells people to save the £5 they would pay to buy a packet of cigarettes and buy a packet of seeds instead.

One packet of seeds can cultivate up to 20,000 cigarettes.

While it is illegal to sell homegrown tobacco it is not illegal to sell the seeds produced by the plants.

Despite his money-spinning idea Chris says growing tobacco will be no more than a hobby.

He is growing apples, pears, grapes and is experimenting with trying to grow cotton on his allotment plot.

He said: "I still do it because I enjoy it. The first thing is that it is a hobby and the last thing is any bonus that comes from it.

"I would really encourage people to get an allotment it has really been good to me.

"The friendship between people, being outdoors and the pleasure of growing your own produce can't be beaten."

But while Chris is an experienced gardener he says he's not the best.

"I wouldn't say I was a brilliant gardener it is very difficult to maintain and keep a tidy allotment.

"I find having an allotment hard work, especially with trying to fit it in with my upholstery, though when I retire I would like to spend more time in the allotment."

And while Chris has saved cash on his smoking habit, he says he would quit tomorrow if he could.

"If I could give up smoking I would," he said.

"I wish I had never started.

"Despite producing tobacco I have not changed my smoking habits I still smoke the same amount.

"I would never encourage people to smoke, if anything I would tell them not to."