A CANNABIS dealer who was caught with £4,000 worth of the drug in his home has been spared immediate jail.
Police carried out a raid at Paul Bennett’s house in Burbank Street, Hartlepool, and found what was described as a “working cannabis farm”, Teesside Crown Court heard.
But Bennett, 28, avoided being sent to prison straight away after the judge heard Bennett had no record for drugs and was tackling his drug and alcohol problems.
Police swooped on the house on July 22 last year.
Sue Jacobs, prosecuting, said: “An upstairs rear bedroom contained a working cannabis farm with seven plants.
“The front bedroom contained a quantity of cannabis hanging up to dry, and on the kitchen top were two unfolded foil wraps containing cannabis bush.
“In total the street value was just short of £4,000. Text messages recovered from the defendant’s mobile phone referred to ‘green’ and ‘smoke’ which the Crown says is indicative of dealing in drugs.”
Bennett was arrested and later pleaded guilty to production of a class B drug and possession of cannabis with intent to supply.
Paul Cleasby, mitigating, said Bennett had had a “chaotic lifestyle” but was now in stable accommodation and was receiving treatment for a drug problem.
Mr Cleasby said: “He has no previous convictions for drugs and this can properly be described as a small scale operation given the number of plants that were recovered.
“He is anxious to keep out of trouble as demonstrated over the last 10 months when there has been no further offending.”
Bennett, now of Weldeck Road, Hartlepool, was sentenced to 12 months prison suspended for two years and ordered to carry out 100 hours unpaid work.
Judge David Hatton said: “It seems in recent times you have taken steps to organise your life. It doesn’t seem to me to be in the public interest that you go immediately to prison.”