A DRUG addict who had a £12,000 cannabis farm has avoided jail.
Stuart Smith harvested 24 cannabis plants from an outhouse at a property on Seaham Lane, Houghton, Newcastle Crown Court heard.
Police raided the house on January 7 and found the drugs being grown by a “fairly-sophisticated heating system” that Smith had created using abstracted electricity.
The 40-year-old, who was not at the address at the time of the police search, arrived later that night and admitted the stash was his, before being arrested.
The court heard that when interviewed by police, Smith said he had created the cannabis farm for his own personal use and had not intended to sell the drug on a commercial scale.
Neil Pallister, prosecuting, said: “During the search of the house, police became aware of an outhouse attached to the main house.
“The door was locked and police had to force entry.
“They found 24 cannabis plants that were being harvested using a fairly-sophisticated heating system.”
The court heard that police then launched a second search the house on February 7.
During the raid they found two tablets of Buprenorphine – a class C drug used in the treatment of addiction – and a gas canister containing an irritant chemical.
The defendant was arrested again after admitting that the drugs and canister belonged to him.
Smith, of Wordsworth Avenue, Houghton, admitted production of a class B drug, possession of a class C drug and possession of a prohibited weapon.
Chris Morrison, in mitigation, said that the defendant had suffered a long history of drug addiction.
He told the court: “He has pleaded guilty to each count.
“This was indeed for his own benefit and he did not set out to supply the drugs. Unfortunately he has been, for a long time, a user of cannabis. He has made every effort to conquer his habit.”
Smith was given a 51-week sentence, suspended for 12 months.
Judge John Evans also imposed a 12-month supervision order.