July 26 2014 Latest news:
Monday, June 30, 2014
A driving instructor from Lowestoft grew a crop of cannabis plants to pay for a lifesaving operation for his dog has walked free, a court has heard.
Police officers went to Damon Hickinbotham’s home in Union Place, and noticed a strong smell of cannabis and found eight immature cannabis plants as well as a growing kit which included lighting and a timer, Ipswich Crown Court heard.
Robert Sadd, prosecuting, said the potential wholesale value of the crop was estimated at around £1,200 while its street value was estimated at a potential £3,810 if all the plants had reached maturity.
Hickinbotham, 36, admitted possessing cannabis with intent to supply and production of cannabis in February and was given an eight-month prison sentence suspended for 18 months and ordered to do 180 hours unpaid work in the community.
Danielle O’Donovan for Hickinbotham said her client’s 15-year-old dog had needed a lifesaving operation costing £1,000.
She said the defendant had a friend who knew someone he could sell the cannabis he was growing in one go and he had decided to give it a try.
”He wasn’t going to involve himself in multiple deals to multiple people. It was going to be a one-off to pay for his dog’s lifesaving surgery,” said Miss O’Donovan.
She said the 15-year-old dog had suffered a stroke and kidney failure but had recovered well following surgery.
The court heard that Hickinbotham had no previous convictions and faced losing his employment as a driving instructor as a result of his conviction.
Miss O’Donovan said her client had started using cannabis for pain relief after suffering a work-related injury.
She said he had been using cannabis for a number of years but had now no longer used it at all.