LAST CHANCE FOR COACH; Cannabis farm found at home.
A POT-SMOKING sports coach caught with cannabis farms in his home twice in six months has been given a final chance to wean himself off the weed.
"Libertarian" cannabis user and voluntary worker Lee Plummer was caught carrying three 3g bags of cannabis with 15 plants worth almost pounds 280 at his home last October.
He admitted producing and possessing cannabis intending to supply to a limited circle of like-minded users, thinking the drug did no particular harm, a court heard.
Plummer, 47, said he swore off cannabis after his arrest and discovery of the modest farm on Myrtle Road, Eaglescliffe.
He was given a 12-month prison sentence suspended for two years by a judge.
But three months after receiving this penalty he was found cultivating another small cannabis farm. Police found a few small plants in the nursery stage and eight larger plants in a hydroponic set-up with lights and insulation at the same home.
According to a detective, the crop could grow an optimum yield of 320g to a street value of pounds 3,200, said prosecutor Oliver Thorne.
He told Teesside Crown Court how it was accepted, given the number of plants and no supporting evidence of a commercial enterprise, the drugs were for personal use. Plummer admitted producing and possessing the Class B drug and breaching his suspended sentence.
Duncan McReddie, defending, said Plummer started using cannabis as a palliative after suffering severe leg injuries in a motorbike accident.
He added Plummer used the drug "sporadically" through his adult life and made no secret of his libertarian views on cannabis use.
"He has sufficient wit to understand that he is acting contrary to the law."
He said Plummer, earning pounds 800 per month and looking after his father who has cancer, quickly completed unpaid work for his sentence.
Judge Peter Armstrong said: "Lee Plummer, this is your last opportunity to get over this habit because if you breach this suspended sentence again there'll be no saving you from going to custody.
"Your future's in your own hands. You're 47 years of age. It's time you grew up."
He said a short prison term "wouldn't help anyone" and would be disproportionate as Plummer had a good job, commitments helping others and jail could lose him his home.
He gave Plummer a 12-month community order with supervision and a total of 250 hours' unpaid work, with the suspended sentence still in force.