A MUM-OF-FIVE started dealing drugs after she turned to cannabis to help with her bad back.
Nicola Dromnes was injured after she fell from a horse in 1996 and started smoking cannabis shortly after.
When police raided her home in Wimpole Street, Landport, Portsmouth, they found 30g of the class B drug, worth £280, hidden in a safe.
They also discovered 9g of amphetamines, a drug dealing list, small bags for the drugs and a set of scales.
Text messages on her phone revealed drug users placing their orders.
The 43-year-old, who has two previous convictions for dishonesty, admitted in her police interview that she sold cannabis because she could get it cheaper if she bought it in bulk.
She pleaded guilty to possession of a class B drug with intent to supply and a second charge of possession of a class B drug at Portsmouth Crown Court.
Tim Sparkes, defending, said: ‘This lady, having started taking cannabis, accepts supplying cannabis to friends but on the basis that they are people who approached her, not strangers.
‘She supplied it, not for profit but to enable her to reduce her outgoings on the drugs she was taking.’
He said Dromnes, whose children are aged eight to 18, had cut down on her drug use but was in considerable pain.
He added: ‘Her children don’t want her to go into custody and she doesn’t want to be parted from them.’
Judge Sarah Munro QC said a short prison sentence would not be a punishment for Dromnes as her family would have to look after her children.
She said: ‘I accept that you have started using drugs as a result of the pain that you suffered as a result of your injury to your back and to reduce the stresses and strains of being a parent of a large family.
‘That’s no excuse in law but it does perhaps explain why you became involved in the use of drugs.
‘The supply of any drugs is always looked at very seriously by the courts and a prison sentence is almost always inevitable.’
The judge handed her an eight-month prison sentence, suspended for two years.
Dromnes will have to wear an electronic tag and stay at home every day between 9pm and 7am for the next three months.
She will also have 12 months of supervision from the probation service.
The judge said: ‘If you keep out of trouble for two years you will not serve that eight-month sentence but if you do get back in trouble you almost certainly will. Let that be a lesson to you.’
There will be a hearing in December when the police will try to seize any money Dromnes made from dealing.