Man in court on cannabis charge

A MAN said he grew five of his own cannabis plants because he did not want to get involved with dealers who sell it on the “black market”.

Michael Verrall appeared before Hartlepool Magistrates’ Court and pleaded guilty to possession of the class B drug.

The 34-year-old had grown a small amount of the drug in the upstairs of his home in the town’s Furness Street.

And he was inside his house when officers stormed in at 1.15pm on October 7.

Prosecuting Lynne Dalton said officers discovered a tin of cannabis bush downstairs, and the small crop of flowering cannabis plants upstairs.

She said: “When interviewed he said he’d been given five cuttings and used a lamp, water and food to grow the plants.

“He said it was for his own personal use and was paying too much for it. The cannabis found in the tin downstairs, he’d bought for £10 the previous day.”

Mitigating, Barry Gray, said the cannabis-growth was such “a small scale production” that police did not charge him with producing the drug but with possession of it instead.

“It was for his own personal use and he told the police quite frankly that it was his,” he added.

“He does not want to involve himself with people who sell for profit and be involved in the black market of cannabis.”

Chairman of the bench John Jenkins fined unemployed Verrall £65 and ordered him to pay a £15 victim surcharge.