A WOMAN who was caught with a cannabis farm in her home walked free from court after a judge ruled she was exploited by others.

Judge Howard Crowson said 37-year-old Nicola Tingle would not have profited from the estimated £5,600 yield from the 14 plants.

He told Teesside Crown Court yesterday that other people must have used her Middlesbrough home as cover to set up the illegal grow.

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Tingle, of Raydale, Hemlington, admitted a charge of producing Class B drugs and was given a community order with supervision.

The judge told her: "We are seeing more and more cannabis cultivation in the crown court in this area.

"Had I believed you were cultivating cannabis for your profit, the result would have been a very different one.

"You had largely been exploited, perhaps because you had been a user, or were at least coerced, and you were not going to gain."