Three family members avoid jail after police found cannabis plants in garage

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Teacher Karen Dight with just some of the disappointed children who will now be deprived of the chance to learn to cycle at St Mary's Catholic School in Anns Hill Road, Gosport Picture by:  Malcolm Wells (180313-0311

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A FAMILY of long-term cannabis users who smoked the drug to relieve pain were given a reprieve from jail, a court heard.

Karen and Kenneth Lee along with their son Kenneth Thomas Lee were spared jail at Portsmouth Crown Court when their four month prison sentences were suspended for two years.

The court heard how all three ran into problems with the law after police turned up to their Clyde Court home in Gosport in August last year for a separate matter when they discovered a ‘large quantity of cannabis’, according to prosecutor Christopher Stopa.

In total 38 plants of marijuana were found along with a number of small tins of the drug.

Lee (junior), 40, was said to be the brains behind cultivating the plants in his parents’ garage while he was living there after falling on hard times because of ill health.

‘He was in a lot of pain and could not hold down a job and had lost his flat,’ defence barrister Matthew Pardoe said.

‘After he was released from prison in 2016 he went to live at his parents where he started to grow cannabis.

‘It was for his own consumption and really helped with his pain. He admitted he was responsible. Both his parents weren’t happy about him growing cannabis in the garage.’

The court was told Lee (senior), 70, and his 61-year-old wife, who had emphysema, had served prison sentences in the past for drug related offences.

Lee (senior) and Mrs Lee had pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to permitting their premises to be used for production of a Class B drug and possessing a Class B drug.

Lee (junior) admitted production of a Class B drug.

Judge Michael Vere-Hodge QC said: ‘This was relatively small level production for your own own heavy use.’

He added: ‘I am suspending the sentences due to the circumstances but it is up to you what you do next. If you break the law you know what the consequences will be.’