Hartlepool man had smoked cannabis since he was 12

The Northern Echo: Teesside Crown Court Teesside Crown Court

A MAN who began smoking cannabis aged 12 has been spared jail after a judge described how there was a “glimmer of hope” for him.

Paul Jones was arrested, charged and put before the courts after police found £2,500 worth of cannabis at his home in Hartlepool on May 8 this year.

A large tent had been put up in a back bedroom, which was being used to grow cannabis.

The drug had been bagged up and ready to sell, while a set of scales, used to weigh it, were also found by officers.

The 33-year-old, now of Drayton Road, Hartlepool, admitted possession with intent to supply and straight possession of cannabis, along with a separate charge of possessing a class C drug.

Paul Newcombe, mitigating, said Jones had been a heavy user of cannabis since he was 12 years old and did what he could to fund the habit.

He said: “He supplemented his meagre finances by modest cannabis supply to a small group of friends.”

Mr Newcombe said Jones needed support and a structure to his days so he could rid himself of his addiction.

Judge Peter Bowers said he was persuaded to give the defendant a chance after hearing how both his barrister and the probation service felt there was a glimmer of hope for him.

He gave him a nine month jail sentence, suspended for two years, and said he would do 240 hours unpaid work.

The judge said: “It is in your interests to sort out your cannabis use. If they find cannabis in your house again nothing will stop you going to prison.”

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