A Doncaster man found to be growing over a dozen cannabis plants in his house has been given a suspended sentence, after a judge accepted he was growing the illegal drug to self-medicate for the debilitating health condition he suffers from.
Carl Fitch, prosecuting, told Sheffield Crown Court how police discovered Dean Gilbourne's cannabis operation when they visited his property in Elm Road, Armthorpe in connection with a different crime.
He said: "They attended the defendant's address and outside they found four cannabis plants.
"There was a front-facing garage where they found 12 more plants within the garage.
"There were the usual lights, extraction fans involved in the cultivation of cannabis."
Mr Fitch told the court that a forensic scientist estimated that a 1.26kg yield could potentially be taken from the 14 plants being grown by Gilbourne, aged 52.
Gilbourne admitted to the offence of production of cannabis at an earlier hearing.
Defending, Andrew Swaby, told the court that Gilbourne had pleaded guilty on the basis it would be accepted that the Class B drug was being grown to help him medicate for pain caused by fibromyalgia.
Fibromyalgia, also called fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS), is a long-term condition that causes pain all over the body, as well as symptoms including muscle stiffness, difficulty sleeping and problems with mental processes.
Mr Swaby said: "You have accepted it was grown for the defendant's personal use for his significant health problems involving fibromyalgia."
He added: "The report indicates that the plants are some way away from maturity. It would be inappropriate to provide an estimate in terms of yield.
Judge Robert Moore sentenced Gilbourne to 26-weeks in prison, suspended for 12-months, and ordered him to complete a 20-day rehabilitation activity requirement during a hearing at Sheffield Crown Court on Friday, January 26.
He said: "Your cannabis growing operation is so serious that only a sentence of imprisonment can be justified.
"But I am satisfied that the sentence should be suspended.
"You were growing it to deal with your fibromyalgia, which the medical profession struggles to treat.
"But cannabis does seem to assist with the worst symptoms."