A DAD-OF-TWO caught growing cannabis worth thousands at his home has been spared jail.
Lee West was caught when police raided his home after a tip-off and found about 1kg of skunk.
The 42-year-old told police he was growing the drug, which would have had a street value of between £4,000 and £6,000, for medicinal purposes. He admitted producing cannabis at his Agincourt Road home in Portsmouth on February 17.
Portsmouth Crown Court heard West’s ex-partner and their two children were at home when police carried out a search warrant.
They forced their way into a padlocked bedroom where they discovered the drugs.
Unyime Davies, prosecuting, said: ‘Inside was what was described as a professional cannabis production set up.
‘The cannabis which had been harvested was hanging on lines and drying.’
The court heard West’s ex-partner phoned him and when he arrived at the home he voluntarily gave an interview to police.
Miss Davies said: ‘Mr West said a friend told him the cannabis was a good way to relieve pain.
‘He said he had had two parts of his spine removed approximately 18 months ago.’
She added: ‘He then said he decided to grow cannabis to do some research into it and he decided to grow it for medicinal purposes.’
Howard Barrington-Clark, defending, said of West: ‘He had no idea how much it was going to produce.
‘The important thing is the officer says there is no evidence at all other than the quantities to support the issue of supply.’
West was sentenced to eight months in jail suspended for two years.
He was ordered to pay £340 costs and £100 to a fund for victims of crime.
Addressing West, Recorder Anne Arnold, sentencing, said: ‘The evidence was of a significant investment in professional equipment for the production of a significant amount of cannabis.
‘It was done within your home where there were children present which is an aggravating factor.’
Recorder Arnold added: ‘You have also provided evidence of a diagnosed medical condition which you put forward at the outset as one of the reasons why you did this.’
An order was made for the drugs and associated paraphernalia to be forfeited and destroyed.