A DISABLED man who grew his own cannabis to cope with depression has walked free from court after a judge heard of his medical problems.
Steven Michael Hayes, aged 31, lost part of his hearing after a large abscess was surgically removed from his skull and he started smoking large amounts of cannabis to make him feel better, Doncaster Crown Court heard.
But it was costing him up to £60 a day so he turned one of the bedrooms at his home in Highwoods Crescent, Mexborough, into a cannabis factory.
On New Year's Day police visited the property about an unrelated matter and smelt cannabis so searched the premises, said Neil Coxon, prosecuting.
In a rear bedroom they found 25 cannabis plants with a sophisticated growing system, including plasterboard over the windows and silver foil on the walls so the heat-seeking camera in the police helicopter would not spot it during patrols.
Mr Coxon said the estimated yield of skunk cannabis would have been one kilogram, which could have been worth up to £6,000 if sold on the street.
Hayes said he had been a heavy user of cannabis for 15 years and was getting through £40-60 worth a day so decided to grow it to save money.
Sarah Smith, defending Hayes, said he accepted it was a sophisticated growing system lent to him by a friend and he would have received a cut.
"His motivation was to produce cannabis cheaper than from a dealer."
Miss Smith said Hayes had extensive scarring on his head from the abscess, which left him with hearing problems and depression.
Medication did not assist him, so he smoked cannabis as well.
Hayes pleaded guilty to producing a class B drug and was given a six month prison sentence, suspended for two years, with 100 hours of unpaid community work.
Recorder Jeremy Hill-Baker said he was suspending the sentence because of his plea, previous good character, and his ill-health and disability.
By Russ Newton
APril 17, 2010