A GREEN-fingered dad was caught red-handed by police with a small cannabis farm in his home.
Magistrates in South Tyneside were told Mark Turnbull grew the drug in a bid to cure his depression.
Officers uncovered 55 plants of the Class B drug being grown in the bedroom and loft at Turnbull’s home in Cambridge Avenue, Hebburn, after executing a search warrant.
While at the address, five grams of cannabis were also spotted on a coffee table in the living room.
The 40-year-old pleaded guilty to production of cannabis and a separate charge of possession of the drug, both on January 23 this year.
The court heard that Turnbull had been given a community order for another offence of cannabis production in 2011.
James Long, prosecuting, said: “On January 23, police executed a search warrant in the defendant’s home.
“In the main bedroom, they found a small nursery of 48 cannabis plants. They were seedlings at an early stage of growth.
“There was a lamp with a 600 watt bulb above the seedlings.
“There were another seven plants in the loft area. These were bigger and described as immature plants.
“There was another 600 watt bulb above them.
“He said he had lost his job last year, had no income and had become very depressed.
“He had decided to grow the cannabis for his own personal use.”
Ian Cruickshank, defending, said: “He has four children and has not been able to pay his way with them for the past few months.
“He became very depressed and decided to buy cannabis.
“He said what he bought was rubbish and wasn’t able to smoke much of it, but it did give him the seeds to grow his own.
“It was to feed his own craving for cannabis caused by his depression.
“He set up a small cannabis farm. Many of the plants had failed and had been out in the bedroom and were to be thrown away.
Mr Cruickshank added the value of the plants that would have been fully produced would have been “very little” and that Turnbull has since stopped smoking the drug.
Magistrates ordered Turnbull to complete 120 hours of unpaid work.
No costs were ordered due to Turnbull’s lack of means.