A false report of a domestic incident brought police to a cannabis user’s home.
And Darran Marshall, 53, then tried to shake them off the scent by claiming he had just two plants, a court heard.
In fact, Marshall was found with 25 plants when officers searched his flat in Glenside, Hedworth Estate, Jarrow.
Prosecutor Lesley Burgess said it had been a diversionary tactic to cover the full extent of his drugs’ haul, a claim he denied in his defence.
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She told South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court: “It would appear there had been a report to police of concern of a domestic related incident.
“The door was opened by Mr Marshall and there was a really strong smell of cannabis.
“He was asked if he had cannabis and said, ‘I’ve got two plants’. There were approximately 25 plants.
“He was interviewed in relation to the plants. He said he had two plants.
“It was diversionary, that’s what he tried to do to the officers.
“He was asked if he was aware that he shouldn’t have drugs and he said, ‘It’s for personal use’.”
The court heard Marshall has 13 previous convictions but had not been before the courts for 18 years.
Marshall, who pleaded guilty to possession of cannabis, defended himself and denied misleading police.
He claimed he told them he had “a few plants” and said that there had been no domestic incident, as he lives alone.
He admitted the drug was for personal use, both recreationally and to help with medical matters.
When quizzed if he had a problem with drug misuse, he replied: “It’s got me here today, so it’s a problem but it’s not an addiction that’s making me cause crime.
“I live alone, there were no raised voices at my flat.”
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Magistrates said they accepted Marshall’s cannabis was for personal use.
They fined him £200, with £85 court costs and a £34 victim surcharge, and ordered the forfeiture and destruction of the drugs.