A builder and father-of-two hid a cannabis farm in his loft.
Police discovered the farm while visiting Darren Ainsley for another matter, Teesside Crown Court heard.
“There were 20 plants,” said Emma Atkinson, prosecuting. “Most were in poor health.
“Also in the house was 95g of loose cannabis in various jars, and £300 in cash in the main bedroom.
“Mr Ainsley told police he intended to smoke most of the crop himself, but he may have given some away to friends. It is accepted there were no dealer’s bags or text messages on his phone to indicate dealing.”
Ainsley, 30, of Miers Avenue, Hartlepool, admitted possessing a Class B drug on January 16.
He has one previous conviction for assault.
Jim Withyman, defending, said: “The assault conviction was 10 years ago, since which time Mr Ainsley has not offended.
“He has two children, the benefit of a supportive partner, and he works part-time as a builder.
“There was no commercial gain for him, although growing the cannabis did save him the cost of buying it.”
Judge David Hatton, QC, sentenced Ainsley to six months in prison, suspended for a year, and 120 hours of unpaid work.
The judge told him: “I take into account your plea of guilty, and your comparative lack of previous convictions.
“I think you have probably learned your lesson.”
The judge ordered Ainsley to pay £300 costs.