South Tyneside drugs den man avoids jail after judge hears of family illnesses

A cannabis farm.
A cannabis farm.

A cannabis user caught with two drug farms under his control has kept his freedom.

Mahammed Miah had converted one bedroom at a property in Laygate, South Shields, into a growing room for 65 cannabis plant seedlings.

At another address in Wylam Close in the town, the 29-year-old had equipped a garage with heat and lighting facilities where 100 cannabis plants, capable of producing a five-and-a-half

kilo crop, were reaching maturity.

The illegal growing rooms were discovered when police raided the two addresses on June 29 last year.

At Newcastle Crown Court Miah, of Cuthbert Street, Hebburn, admitted two charges of production of cannabis and one of possessing a small amount of the drug which he was carrying

when arrested.

The court heard married Miah, who has three children and is a registered carer to his ill father-in-law, used cannabis from being a teenager but his consumption increased after he was the

victim of a violent attack which led to him having post-traumatic stress disorder and relying on it to "self medicate".

Miah's wife is due to give birth to their fourth child, who has a heart defect which has been diagnosed while still in the womb and faces surgery straight after delivery.

The court heard Miah has previous convictions involving cannabis.

Judge Tim Gittins told him: "This came to light when police executed search warrants at addresses you had control of on June 29 last year.

"Obviously this was a significant amount, more than even you, as a heavy user, could have smoked."

The court heard Miah insisted throughout that the cannabis crops were only for him.

Since his arrest he has sought professional help to cope with his problems.

Judge Gittins sentenced him to 10 months imprisonment, suspended for two years, with rehabilitation requirements and 150-hours unpaid work.

The judge told Miah: "You should realise you need to be there supporting your wife and help her through the difficult months that are going to follow in relation to your young child's care, in addition to care for your other three children."

Judge Gittins warned Miah that the suspended prison term could be activated if he has any further involvement in offending.

The judge added: "You have had your one chance in using the mitigation you put forward on this occasion."