A cannabis farmer was found to have dozens of cannabis plants in his home wth an estimated value of £17,550.
Kevin Orley told police he was growing the cannabis to ‘make quick money’ to fund his own habit.
He was told by a Northern Powergrid inspector investigating abstracted electricity the police would be called, Teesside Crown Court heard.
“It took the officers about two hours to arrive,” said Andrew Teate, defending. “In that time Mr Orley sat calmly in his house and waited.
“He could have taken advantage of the time to attempt to dispose or conceal some of the cannabis plants, but didn’t do so.”
Prosecutor Emma Atkinson said forty plants were recovered from the house in Wharton Street, Hartlepool.
“There were 20 in a bedroom and 20 in the loft,” added Ms Atkinson. “The plants had a potential yield of 1.6kg, with an estimated street value of £17,550.
“At the time of his arrest, Mr Orley told the police he had started to grow the plants because he wanted to make quick money.
“He later told the police his plan was to sell the cannabis to friends to help fund his own habit.”
Orley, 39, of Avondale Gardens, Hartlepool, admitted producing class B drugs on January 2.
He has previous convictions for possessing illegal drugs,
Mr Teate told the court: “Mr Orley knew nothing of the meter being bypassed in the property, and I understand someone else has been charged with that offence.
“Mr Orley was frank with the police about his involvement with the cannabis grow.
“He has had difficulties in his life, including getting cancer on three separate occasions.
“The probation report puts forward an alternative sentence to immediate custody with which he would willingly comply.”
Judge Tony Briggs sentenced Orley to 15 months in prison, suspended for two years, 100 hours of community work, and 30 days of rehabilitation activity.
The judge told Orley: “You are 39-years-old and have clearly had some difficulties in your life.
“I think the sentence can be suspended because of your early guilty plea, you are not heavily convicted, and you did not take advantage of the chance you had to attempt to hide what you had been doing.”
The judge ordered the confiscation and destruction of the cannabis plants.