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Friday, 19 December 2014

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West Cumbrian man had £2,000 of cannabis

A man who grew more than £2,000 worth of cannabis in his home has been given a community order.

Mark Austin, of Senhouse Street, Siddick, Workington, appeared at Carlisle Crown Court.

Gerard Rogerson, prosecuting, said the 43-year-old had grown six plants in part of his house between November 11, 2012, and February 8 last year.

On this later date, police had searched the property and found the plants along with all equipment needed to grow them, including a dehumidifier, air conditioning unit and reflective surfaces attached to the walls.

They also found a safe containing £1,345 in cash.

One of plants was sent away to be examined. It was found that it could produce 150g of sellable drug, which would have a street value of £2,400.

Austin was arrested by police officers. He told them he used the drug to deal with medical complaints.

These included chronic fatigue syndrome, post-traumatic stress disorder, and back pain.

“He used the cannabis to relieve pain,” said Mr Rogerson.

“He said that he does not smoke the drug but cooks with it.”

Mr Rogerson also pointed out that Austin had appeared before the courts before on drug charges, the oldest of which dated back to 1995.

He added: “This was in fact a significant role; he was motivated by financial gain and he had some awareness of the scale of the operation.”

Brendan Burke, for Austin, said the operation was “on a small scale”.

He also argued that Hopkins – who had pleaded guilty to a charge of growing cannabis at a previous hearing in front of magistrates – would find it difficult to comply with any curfew imposed by the court because of his family circumstances.

Recorder Roger Farley QC gave Austin a 12-month community order and a three-month curfew.

He also told Austin to pay a victim surcharge of £60.

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