A Sheffield forces veteran who grew £12,000 worth of cannabis escaped jail because of the service he gave his country.
Former parachute regiment soldier Lawrence Brown, aged 61, stood in the dock at Sheffield Crown Court in a blazer decorated with medals.
He was facing jail for cultivating £12,000 worth of the Class B drug.
But Judge Jacqueline Davies said, although his crime passed the custody threshold, she would not jail him.
She said: “I have an impressive list of documents before me which includes the service you have given and continue to give to raise money for people who have served their country.
“These letters enable me to take a course of action which means you do not lose your liberty.”
Neil Coxon, prosecuting, said Brown admitted growing cannabis.
Police raided his flat at Ballifield Road, Handsworth, last December 2 and found 24 seedlings growing in the bedroom and 14 mature plants in the loft.
When arrested Brown said he bought some plants for £5 and gave ‘Roy of Rotherham’ £250 for the equipment.
He was growing the cannabis to save money - the court heard he has respiratory disease, and puts the drug in his food to relieve his symptoms.
Richard Thyne, defending, said: “He’s a proud and hard working man who finds himself ashamed at standing before the court.”
Brown was given a four-month jail term suspended for a year, and a weekend curfew for a month.