Carer Paul Wright has avoided going to prison after police found him growing cannabis that could have fetched £22,000 on the street.
Officers found 40 plants and a number of seedlings when they executed a search warrant at the 44-year-old’s Chell Heath home.
Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court heard experts said the set-up was clearly for ‘more than personal use’.
Prosecutor Sally Cairns said: “Police went to the defendant’s home address to execute a warrant.
“They found two growing tents with 40 cannabis plants and nine seedlings in a propagator. Each tent was lined with reflective material and four bags of cannabis vegetation were also found.
“A drugs expert estimated the plants would yield approximately £21,900 if sold in deals on the street. The seedlings were estimated at £400.
“It was described as a small to medium domestic set-up for more than personal use.”
When Wright was interviewed, he told police he was looking after the plants for a friend, who would allow him to keep a few for his own personal use. He said his job was to water and feed the plants.
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Wright, of Recorder Grove, Chell Heath, went on to plead guilty to the production of a Class B drug. The court heard his last conviction was in 2005.
Arif Hussain, mitigating, said Wright had become addicted to cannabis after his partner of 25 years fell seriously ill. “In 2017 his partner became extremely ill. She spent many months in hospital in a coma. That is when his recreational cannabis use led to an addiction.
“Over the years he has spent a lot of money on cannabis and it was suggested to him that should consider growing some himself. He thought that was a good idea.
“He has mental health issues. His partner is still not well. He cares for her and they rely on each other. He has had a council tenancy for 15 years.”
Judge David Fletcher handed Wright an 18-month prison sentence, suspended for 18 months.
Judge Fletcher said: “Whatever the reason for you having the cannabis grow in your house, it was not a couple of plants for someone’s own use. It’s a much bigger set-up than that.
“We have heard the rather startling figures as to what it could have produced in regard to the value on the streets.”
As part of the suspended sentence order, Wright must complete a 25-day rehabilitation activity requirement and a 12-month mental health treatment requirement. He is subject to a curfew that prohibits him going out between 7pm and 7am for three months. He must also pay £340 in court costs.