Cannabis farmer caught out by Jarrow flat flood

A cannabis farm a man claims he cultivated to help ease his back pain was discovered when water flooded into the flat below.

Monday, 24th December 2018, 10:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 8th January 2019, 4:04 pm
The case was dealt with at South Tyneside Magistrates' Court.

Firefighters who were called to deal with the flood found the 40 plants after they broke into Anthony Coyne’s upstairs flat in Jarrow to stop the flow of water.

Coyne admitted to police that he was a regular user of the drug to relieve pain from a degenerative back condition.

A cannabis plant

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Paul Anderson, prosecuting, told South Shields Magistrates’ Court: “The cannabis growing operation was described as being sophisticated,

“There were lights, irrigation, and the power supply had been bypassed.

“Mr Coyne was frank with the police, saying he smoked cannabis for pain relief.

“He does have a limited criminal record, but has not offended for ten years.”

Coyne, 38, of Northbourne Road, Jarrow, admitted producing a class B drug on March 14.

The court heard police found approximately 40 plants in Coyne’s loft.

David Forrester, defending, said: “Mr Coyne suffers from a painful degenerative back condition.

“He will say his sister achieved some remarkable health benefits from using cannabis oil.

“Medical opinion may be divided about that, but he believes cannabis was helping him with his pain.

“Smoking it meant he was able to continue working, the job he does is done mostly sitting down.”

Mr Forrester said Coyne’s cannabis was only for personal use.

“There is no suggestion he is involved in any anti-social drug activity linked to drugs,” added Mr Forrester.

“He lives a quiet, almost reclusive life.

“From now on he will have to find another way to relieve the pain.”

Coyne was sentenced to a community order of 12 months, 15 rehabilitation activity days.

He was also ordered to pay £265 in fines and costs.

The cannabis plants and growing equipment were confiscated and will be destroyed.