Police found a £2,000 drugs farm when neighbours reported a strong smell of cannabis in the street.
Officers raided the cannabis factory, containing 24 plants, at a rented flat leased by Marc Tyrell at Easington Lane, after complaints from members of the public about the odour in the air last May.
Newcastle Crown Court heard the 36-year-old dad had started up the farm to pay off a drugs debt.
Tyrell, 36, of Antwerp Road, Farringdon, Sunderland, admitted producing cannabis and was sentence to eight months’ imprisonment, suspended for two years, with 160 hours’ unpaid work and supervision.
Mr Recorder Andrew Dallas told him: “I am prepared to accept you were acting at the behest of the usual uncaught principal who provided the equipment, helped you set it up and exploited the fact you had a drugs debt. You used this as a means to pay it off.”
Tyrell’s wife Jeanette Scott, aka Tyrell, 36, of Arbroath Road, Farringdon, denied production of cannabis but was found guilty by a jury after a trial. She was sentenced to a community order for 12 months with 100 hours’ unpaid work and supervision.