A married couple accused of illegally possessing and producing cannabis have walked free from a court after the prosecution accepted there was no public interest in continuing with the case.

Mark and Lesley Gibson, both 55, had faced three charges.

They included an allegation that they had in their possession illegal cannabis-laced chocolate bars.

Mrs Gibson, who has multiple sclerosis, said that she was forced to find an alternative source of the drug after the NHS withdrew the cannabis based medicinal spray she had depended on for more than a decade.

Without it, she said, she suffers from a range of distressing symptoms, including intense pain, body spasms, and sight loss.

At Carlisle Crown Court today, there was a spontaneous round of applause from the couple's supporters in the public gallery as Judge Michael Duck announced that the case was now over.

Throughout the case, the Gibson's have said that their actions were purely down to medical necessity - the need to treat Mrs Gibson's MS.

The prosecution today outlined how for more than a decade Mrs Gibson had been able to get her medication through a doctor's prescription, but then in 2017 the local NHS withdrew it. 

Prosecuting barrister Brendan Burke outlined how the Gibsons had illegally produced at their Yewdale Road home in Carlisle only after her Sativex medication was withdrawn.

Speaking outside court, Mr Gibson said: "These prosecutions are unnecessary and very, very cruel. Today was a good result - and the law is listening - at last!"

Prosecuting barrister Brendan Burke insisted that the couple had broken the law and warned that they would be prosecuted if they did so again.