A father who claims he was driven to produce cannabis after falling into debt and struggling to support his young family has escaped being sent behind bars.
Adam Potts, aged 29, was caught looking after 28 cannabis plants worth £12,600 at the home he rented on Woodlands Terrace, Edlington.
He pleaded guilty - and said he became involved in growing cannabis after ending up in a desperate situation.
Nicholas Walsh, defending Potts at Sheffield Crown Court, said: “In 2010, he started an NVQ in welding. It took him three years to qualify. While he was at college, he was working two days a week and that income supported his family. In December, he lost that employment. He sought help from the benefits agency but because he was at college he had no entitlement to job seekers’ allowance.”
Struggling to make ends meet, a friend put Potts in touch with a man who said he would lend him £2,000.
“Having cleared his debts at home he is asked to make a substantial contribution to his repayment and he is in no position to do that,” said Mr Walsh. “He becomes involved in growing cannabis.”
On May 19, police discovered two cannabis set-ups in the property.
Potts immediately admitted his part in the crime.
Mr Walsh said: “That’s the best indication of somebody who is genuinely sorry for what he has done.
“His current situation is very much a happier one than it had been. He finished his course in May, he qualified as a welder and he began employment in July. He is able now to support his partner and two young children aged seven and two.”
Sentencing Potts to an eight-month jail term, suspended for 12 months, Judge Lawler QC said: “You clearly worked hard to better yourself and gained qualifications. Your references show you are clearly highly thought-of by people who know you.”
Potts must also carry out unpaid work and pay a £100 surcharge and £340 costs.