County Antrim man was growing cannabis at his home for 'pain relief' but accepts it is a 'criminal offence' and is now using prescribed morphine

County Antrim man was growing cannabis at his home for 'pain relief' but accepts it is a 'criminal offence' and is now using prescribed morphine

A MAN from the Larne area caught growing a number of cannabis plants claimed it was for "pain relief" but accepts it is a criminal offence and has now been prescribed morphine.

David John Irvine (53), of Ballysnod Road, was found with 13 mature cannabis plants and 12 'juvenile' plants along with 283 grammes of herbal cannabis on February 23 last year.

Antrim Magistrates Court, sitting in Ballymena, heard the cannabis had been valued by police at over £6,000.

A prosecutor said the defendant lives alone with his dog and told police he was using cannabis for "pain relief".

The prosecutor said nothing was located at the premises which would suggest any involvement in the supply of cannabis.

Irvine admitted charges of cultivating cannabis and possession of the Class B drug.

Defence barrister Aaron Thompson said the defendant was unable to work; leads a "fairly isolated life" and "suffered for decades with chronic back pain".

He said the defendant had views about using cannabis for pain relief but he accepts it is a criminal offence and "won't do it any more" and is now prescribed morphine.

The lawyer said the lighting was "basic" and the "yield" from the plants was always going to be low.

The defendant was given a five months jail term, suspended for three years.