Lancaster racing stables employee grew cannabis farm in rural cottage
A racing stables employee has admitted cultivating cannabis at the home given to him by his employers
John Quinn, 47, of Moss Side Racing Stables, Crimbles Lane, Cockerham, Lancaster, appeared before Preston Crown Court after the £50,000 drugs farm, containing 140 plants, was discovered on September 27, 2018.
He admits producing a class B drug and possessing cannabis on the same date.
A judge ruled the circumstances were unusual and agreed to impose 150 hours of unpaid work rather than a jail term.
His defence lawyer, Fraser Livesey, told the court there is no evidence of dealing or 'high living'.
He added Quinn maintained he has pain issues and was growing it for his own use at his home.
Judge Beverley Lunt ruled the circumstances were unusual and agreed to impose 150 hours of unpaid work rather than a jail term.
She said:" Having heard the evidence from you and assessed you for myself, I'm satisfied this was not for personal use, but also satisfied there's no way you set up this, with the amount of plants, without influence from someone somewhere - and I'm satisfied the police believe that as well.
"Having said that, whatever the reason you can't grow this amount of cannabis without it coming to the police's attention.
"You're previously a man of good character - it's a lot to lose your good character when you're 47 years of age.
"I'm entirely satisfied in the circumstances of this case are so odd that it would not be just to send you to prison today."
She said she felt she could "step back" from a custodial sentence, and that unpaid work would be a more "positive punishment" allowing him to repay his debt to the community.
She added: " There is no sign whatsoever of you making a penny from this enterprise. Your circumstances are not indicative of any form of drug dealing whatsoever.