A CANNABIS taker who grew his own plants to provide his personal supply, would have probably sold some of the surplus to fellow users, a court has ruled.

Police found 14 cannabis plants growing at Ian Gary Longworth’s flat in Peterlee, County Durham, on September 2, 2011.

Martin Towers, prosecuting, told Durham Crown Court the potential 560-gramme crop could have an estimated £3,200 value in street sales.

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Longworth, 32, of Oakerside Drive, Peterlee, admitted class B drug production, but claimed the cannabis being grown was to meet his own use of the drug.

Following a trial of issue at the court, last month, Recorder Euan Duff ruled that he believed, in all probability, that while Longworth may have been quite a heavy user of the drug, some would have been to sell on to “friends and associates” in the community.

His barrister, Ron Mitchell, told today’s (Monday January 7) sentencing hearing that the offence took place far more than a year ago, and he has not repeated “such behaviour”.

“He says he has significantly reduced the amount he takes and admits he takes it, now, on an only occasional basis.”

Recorder Duff told Longworth: "You were growing a small scale cannabis farm, essentially, and I’m satisfied while you were not a commercial dealer, you would have recouped some of your commercial outlay from your friends.

“But, I accept this was all in the past and it appears you’re now working part-time and things have moved on considerably.”

He imposed a six-month prison sentence, suspended for 18 months, with 12 months supervision and 100 hours’ unpaid work.

The recorder also ordered Longworth to pay £1,800 costs from £2,300 recovered by police during the raid.