A CANNABIS user who grew his own crop to try and save himself money has been warned to clean up his act or he will go to prison.
David Stead was arrested after police went to his Hartlepool home looking for someone else they wanted to arrest.
But once inside they discovered a small cannabis farm with 23 plants growing in an upstairs room.
The 45-year-old insisted they were only for his own use and he was not involved in drug dealing.
Police went to Stead’s home in Elliott Street, Hartlepool, at around 4am on Tuesday, March 19.
Alan Davison, prosecuting at Hartlepool Magistrates’ Court, said: “They were looking for some other people to arrest.
“What they found in an up[stairs bedroom was 23 cannabis plants growing along with heating lamps and the doors and windows were covered in plastic sheeting.
“He was arrested and fully admitted production of cannabis for his own personal use.”
Just over a week later, Stead was arrested again after he stole a woman’s purse hat had been left on a seat in Hartlepool Civic Centre.
He took the purse which belonged to Natalie McDonough when she got up to speak to counter staff at around 9.30am on Wednesday, March 27.
Mr Davison said: “When she was called forward to be seen Mr Stead went to her seat, picked up the purse and stole it.
“He later admitted in interview that he saw it and took it out of curiosity. He took the contents valued at about £20 and threw it in a bin outside.”
Stead pleaded guilty to production of a class B drug and also theft by finding.
John Relton, mitigating, said the cost of buying cannabis convinced Stead to try to grow his own.
Mr Relton said: “There has been no suggestion there was any element of commercialisation, selling or the benefit of others at all.”
Referring top the theft of the purse Mr Relton added: “It was clearly opportunistic and caused short term distress to the lady.
“Fortunately the item was recovered and he wishes to apologise through me to the victim for that.”
Stead was given 12 weeks prison but magistrates suspended the sentence for 12 months.
Chairman of the bench Margaret Sleeman said: “If you commit any offences this suspended sentence could be activated and you could go to prison.”