A FORMER teaching assistant has admitted growing 41 cannabis plants in his garden shed.
Ashley Jones, 47, of The Boarts, Lydbrook, told police who raided his home: “I’m addicted, it’s all mine, nobody else’s.”
Jones resigned from his PE department role at Lakers School in Five Acres, near Coleford, after he was charged with the production of cannabis last month.
Michael Reed, defending at Cheltenham Magistrates’ Court yesterday, said Jones fully admitted producing the drug for personal use. Monday, March 3
He added: “This has had a great effect on Mr Jones. He has lost his job at the school, a position he has held for 10 years.
“He has shown great remorse from the outset, and not just for the effect this has had on him.”
Police executed a warrant at Jones’s home at around 8am on January 31.
A total of 41 plants at various stages of maturity – including 13 with an estimated yield of between 364g and 1kg – were discovered by officers in an out building.
The remaining 28 were described as being “very, very young”.
Mr Reed told the court how the “non-sophisticated operation” consisted of one 400w lamp, that the plants were watered manually and there is no evidence to suggest he was dealing the drug.
He also said the young plants may not have flowered and achieving the 1kg yield was unlikely.
He added: “There is no suggestion it was anything other than a domestic operation.”
Robert Reed, prosecuting, said the plants recovered were healthy and well-tendered and that there appeared to be a “certain degree of expertise” in cultivating the plants.
He said: “There were a total of 41 plants in production, which is a vast number of somebody growing for their own use.
A probation officer said Jones has stopped smoking cannabis and is seeking help from Turning Point, an alcohol and drug recovery service.
Jones, who has three children aged 16, 20 and 21, started smoking cannabis in his early twenties and used to buy it from a friend.
After his friend died in an accident, he decided to grow his own.
He consumed around one ounce of the drug per week by using a vaporiser, instead of smoking it.
Michael Reed said Jones’ former colleagues and pupils have been supportive of him and added: “One letter from a child spoke about how they are going to miss him.”
Jones was sentenced to a 12-month community order which includes 12 months’ supervision, a low-intensity drug rehabilitation requirement for three months and 100 hours’ unpaid work.
The school sent a letter to parents which said he “seriously regrets” what he has done.