Ex-serviceman avoids jail sentence after cannabis farm found in his house

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A FORMER serviceman was given a suspended prison sentence after a cannabis farm was found in his house.

Police found 22 plants growing in the Peterlee home of David Batters, Durham Crown Court heard.

Martin Towers, prosecuting, said: “There were 22 plants which were close to maturity and flowering.

“The estimated yield is 990g with a possible street value of £5,657.

“Cannabis was mentioned in text messages on Batters’ phone.

“The prosecution cannot disprove his defence which says most of the grow was for his own use, though he would share with others.

“It is fair to say this was not a commercial growing operation.”

Batters, 39, of Lancaster Hill, admitted being concerned in the production of a class B drug.

Neil Bennett, mitigating, said Batters had spent some time in the army.

“He is now working and has family responsibilities,” added Mr Bennett.

Judge Christopher Prince jailed him for six months, suspended for a year.

He said: “You have no record for drugs production, and this was for yourself and a limited number of other people.

“You have a good work record and have proved you can hold down a job.

“You have been foolish to grow this cannabis, and you would be very foolish if you did it again.”

Batters was ordered to do 100 hours of community work and pay £535 costs.

The cannabis recovered was confiscated and destroyed.