Man caught growing cannabis at Leigh Park home claims he used it to ‘keep calm’

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A MAN caught growing 17 cannabis plants at his council house has been ordered to pay £1,735 in fines and court costs.

Benjamin Hoar, 40, of Ashlett Lawn, Leigh Park, was caught out when police went to his address.

Benjamin Hoar

Benjamin Hoar

Portsmouth Magistrates’ Court heard how officers arrived on March 4 this year, only to find the plants.

The court was told how there was no evidence Hoar, who works for a cabling firm, was supplying cannabis, a class B drug.

But the amount involved was ‘beyond what he would be able to consume,’ the court was told.

Prosecutor Giles Fletcher said: ‘Officers have cause to go to the address.

Cannabis found at Benjamin Hoar's house Picture: CPS Wessex

Cannabis found at Benjamin Hoar's house Picture: CPS Wessex

‘He is the tenant of a council property.

‘When officers go there they see a number of cannabis plants.’

Mr Fletcher added: ‘It’s a fair set-up, there’s some sophistication because of the ventilation system and such like.

‘He admits growing them.

Cannabis found at Benjamin Hoar's house'Picture: CPS Wessex

Cannabis found at Benjamin Hoar's house'Picture: CPS Wessex

‘He says it’s 17 plants, unfortunately no-one actually counted how many it was.

‘I can’t go behind the fact that he says it’s 17.

‘It’s a fair number of cannabis plants.’

Mr Fletcher said Hoar had no convictions since 2012.

Mr Fletcher added: ‘There was no evidence that he’s supplying but it’s beyond what he would be able to consume.’

Hoar pleaded guilty to cultivating cannabis at his first appearance at magistrates’ court.

Photos shown in court by the prosecutor reveal a ventilation system set up in a room at Hoar’s home.

Lights hang from the ceiling and pipes are installed along the wall.

District judge Anthony Callaway fined him £1,500 with £85 costs and a £150 victim surcharge to pay.

The judge ordered the drugs must be forfeited and destroyed.

Howard Barrington-Clark, mitigating, said Hoar has a psychiatric prescription for a medical condition.

He said: ‘He was growing cannabis for the first time (to help) keep him on the level.

‘There’s no suggestion of supply.’

He said Hoar has a good record and no convictions for drug supply, and that he makes £400 a week.

The maximum sentence for cultivating cannabis plants is 14 years in jail and is reserved for more serious cases.