A PERSISTENT cannabis grower has been jailed for a year after a judge activated a suspended prison sentence on him.

Daniel Hill’s barrister Duncan Malarkey attempted to persuade The Recorder of Middlesbrough, Simon Bourne-Arton to take what the judge described as an “exceptional” course by not jailing him.

But the judge refused and instead imposed an immediate nine month jail sentence on Hill, previously suspended for 18 months, and added a further three months on top.

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Teesside Crown Court heard how Hill was given the sentence for possession with intent to supply after police found 35 cannabis plants belonging to him at an address in Marine Drive, Hartlepool in October 2012.

Then on February 6 this year after responding to a 999 call, police inadvertently found a further 21 small cannabis plants being grown in a property in Carrick Street, where Hill was living at the time.

Overhead lighting had been installed and the electricity supply bypassed in order to power the lights.

Hill, of Whitby Grove, Hartlepool, who admitted producing cannabis, had previously been cautioned by police twice for the same offence.

The 29-year-old said he bought seeds from an internet website and described it as a “two bob set-up”.

He also said he smoked between 20 and 30 cannabis joints a day, but had now given up the drug.

Mr Malarkey said there had been a “sea change” in Hill’s approach to life and he had found full time work loading skips, as well as turning his back on cannabis.

He was also keen to provide for his young son.

Jailing Hill, Judge Bourne-Arton said he would give the defendant credit for his guilty plea, but could not avoid a jail sentence.

As Hill was taken down from the dock to begin serving his sentence his mother shouted: “Love you son”.