Attack victim spends payout on cannabis unit

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A DONCASTER man who used cash from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board to set up his own drugs factory has narrowly escaped going to jail.

Michael Cook, aged 34, was given a suspended four month prison term after telling a judge he was using cannabis to help him conquer his drink problem and he had not planned to sell drugs.

Doncaster Crown Court heard how the Balby window cleaner received £2,000 compensation for facial scarring suffered in an assault and used half of it to set up the cannabis production unit.

When police raided his rented home in Finch Road last January they found 14 cannabis plants growing to a height of 75cm in the garage.

The unit included growing tents, transformers, lamps, electric timers and a water butt. Police experts said the plants could have yielded more than £3,000 worth of cannabis, said Jeremy Evans, prosecuting.

Cook had no previous convictions but Mr Evans said the potential output would have created a surplus which could have got into general circulation.

Defence solicitor Cedric Hennis said his client did not accept that, because the cannabis would have been for his own use only and there was no evidence of him selling it.

Giving evidence, Cook said he had used the drug ‘on and off for years’ and used YouTube to get information about cultivating his own.

“I intended to use it to get off the alcohol. I’m an alcoholic and have been seeking treatment for it. I wanted to use it to stop drinking.

“I had no intention of supplying anyone else with cannabis, it was just for my own use. I didn’t know how much each plant would produce.”

Cook, who earns £55 a week on his window round, denied a prosecution claim that he saw it as additional income and said: “No, I was just thinking about my liver. I’m not very money motivated.”

Cook, who admitted cannabis production, was also sentenced to 150 hours of unpaid work and supervision after the judge said it was important he should deal with his alcohol problem.