Cannabis found after a tip-off

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An informant tipped off police that a 46-year-old man was growing cannabis plants, Banbridge Magistrates Court heard last Thursday.

Michael Robert Anderson, Whyte Acres, Banbridge, admitted cultivating cannabis plants and possession of a class B drug, cannabis, on October 21 last year.

For each offence he was sentenced to 200 hours community service with the sentences to run concurrently.

The case had been adjourned from a previous court so that a pre-sentence report could be obtained.

The court heard that police carried out a search at the home of the defendant and a cannabis plant was found in the attic while four more were found in a garden shed. A small amount of cannabis was found in his bedroom.

When interviewed Anderson made a full admission. He said he had grown the cannabis for his own use and took it for health reasons.

District Judge, Mr Paul Copeland, said he was concerned about the defendant’s previous conviction.

A public prosecutor said there was no allegation of supplying.

Mr Frank McCartan, representing the defendant, said apparently an informant had advised police but there was no suggestion of anything sinister in what Anderson was doing. He had served a ten month sentence for his previous conviction.

He added that the scale on this occasion was much smaller than the previous occasion when it involved a much bigger quantity.

Mr McCartan said his client had difficulty with cannabis but had been dealing with this through counselling, his GP and by attending AA.

District Judge, Mr Paul Copeland, said he was satisfied the defendant grasped the significance of drugs offences and the risk to his liberty.

He was also satisfied this was not on the scale involved in the past.

Judge Copeland said there was some suggestion the defendant was self-medicating but there was overwhelming evidence drugs can cause significant health problems.