Pair set up cannabis farm in town centre flat
Two men who set up a small cannabis farm in a town centre flat have kept their freedom.
Police were called to the upstairs property at Russell Street, Jarrow, in February 2020, after a report there was a smell of cannabis coming from it.
Newcastle Crown Court heard the officers found 16 plants growing in one bedroom and 22 in the living room.
Prosecutor Barry Robson said the flat contained growing tents, two bedrooms had boarded up windows and there was a large extractor fan and plant food inside.
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Mr Robson said the set up was a "relatively small farm" but the crop was capable of producing cannabis worth up to £15,500.
Keelan Carr, 26, of Cedar Drive, Jarrow, was in the flat when the police arrived, told them "it's for personal use" and admitted production of cannabis.
Karl Britain, 26, of Limecroft, Jarrow, who handed himself in later, admitted the same charge.
Mr Robson said Britain gave police a prepared statement, which said they "set up the cannabis farm themselves so they wouldn't be putting money into the hands of criminals".
The court heard both men "work hard" and have never been in trouble before or since.
Mr Recorder Tony Hawks said both men are capable of making a significant contribution to society and sentenced them to a fine of £1,000 each, with a 30-day prison sentence if they fail to pay.
The judge warned them: "I am going to say this once. Whatever your views on cannabis, it is illegal in this country - to own it, smoke it, eat it, grow it or sell it to someone else or whatever.”