A JUDGE has warned of the dangers of cannabis use as he allowed a former soldier who grew his own farm to keep his freedom.
Police found 34 plants growing in a specially-dedicated room at Scott Harrison’s home in February.
The 29-year-old, of Wentworth Terrace, Millfield, confessed he had been intending to grow his own supply.
Jane Foley, defending, said Harrison had started using cannabis as a way to help reduce his alcohol intake.
Mr Recorder Mark McKone warned: “Many people think of cannabis as a mild drug. Most people are tempted to say that it has no effect upon health.
“I have spent 25 years involved in the criminal courts, and I have seen a vast number of people whose mental health has been very badly affected by long-term cannabis use.
“I really urge you not to use cannabis as a substitute for alcohol, very soon that will affect your mental health.”
Harrison, who admitted producing cannabis, was sentenced to 10 months’ imprisonment, suspended for two years, with a four month night-time curfew.
The court heard it had been Harrison’s first attempt to grow his own batch and experts said only 20, at the most, plants would have flourished or produced any cannabis.
Miss Foley said Harrison now works as a builder and had been growing the plants from seed, as he thought it would be cheaper than buying a supply from dealers.
Miss Foley added: “This was his first crop.”