Drugs farmer spared by judge after quitting 19-year cannabis habit

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A CANNABIS addict who quit after 19 years when he was given a chance by a judge has been spared jail.

Geoffrey Smailes, 32, was caught growing 29 cannabis plants in his spare bedroom last October when police raided it with a drugs search warrant.

He was arrested on suspicion of production of the Class B drug and taken to Hartlepool police station, where he made full and frank admissions.

Judge Peter Bowers later deferred sentence for six months when Smailes appeared before him at Teesside Crown Court.

Rachel Landin, mitigating, said that Smailes had been growing it for his own use, but with the help of his GP he was now free of cannabis addiction.

He only lapsed once in August, when he shared somebody else’s joint.

She said that he had stayed drug free despite the stress of his grandfather’s death and the birth of his daughter, and he was waiting to start a job.

That was delayed due to surgery on his hand when doctors inserted a plate.

A pre-sentence report from a probation officer recommended that he would benefit from a suspended sentence with supervision.

Judge Peter Bowers told Smailes: “You obviously have been making some efforts to rid yourself of your cannabis habit.

“You can have this chance, but if you breach it you are off to prison. In the circumstances you have played fair with me and you will be given this chance, but you won’t get another one, off you go.”

Smailes, of Chester Road, Hartlepool, was given a 15-month jail sentence suspended for 18 months with supervision and a £100 surcharge after he pleaded guilty to production of cannabis on October 25 last year.