A BUSINESSMAN will have to carry out community work after being caught with a £15,000 cannabis stash in his home.

Kyle Watson, from Toronto, near Bishop Auckland, also admitted to conspiracy to steal after police found a mobile phone with text messages he had sent arranging to go and steal gas canisters from a caravan park.

Victoria Lamballe, prosecuting, said bottles of gas had been stolen from Greenfoot Caravan Park, Stanley between November 29 and December 4 last year.

When police went to investigate, they found a mobile which contained messages between the owner of the phone and the defendant arranging to steal the bottles in order to fund their Christmases.

When police attended Watson’s home in Jubilee Street, they could smell cannabis and uncovered a stash of 30 plants.

Durham Crown Court heard that the plants had a street value of around £15,000.

Chris Morrison, mitigating told the court that Watson owned his own cladding business – KJW Cladding – which employs four people and currently has a contract in the north of Scotland.

Mr Morrison added that Watson has a fiance of five years and two children aged three and one.

He said: “His domestic history is one of an otherwise dutiful individual.

“He is a man with a strong work ethic.”

Judge Christopher Prince told Watson he must carry out 250 hours of community work and told him to pay £415 in compensation to the caravan park, as well as £495 in costs.