A disabled Mansfield man who relies on cannabis as a painkiller after a serious accident has been warned he will go to prison if he uses the drug again.
Peter Hindley, 63, suffered such horrific injuries in the accident in 2011 that he received a compensation payout of £140,000.
“A van reversed off a drive right in front of me, knocked me off my bike, virtually ripped off my foot and took most of my face off,” Hindley told Nottingham Crown Court.
“Since then, I have tried every painkiller known to man, but taking cannabis is the only way I can get a night’s sleep. Otherwise, I wake up in the middle of the night in pain.”
However, Hindley’s decision to grow his own cannabis in the loft at his home on Sadler Street has now backfired. For he was arrested, and the court found that he had also been dealing in the drug.
It all led to a prison sentence of 18 months, suspended for two years, and Judge James Sampson told him: “If you commit a cannabis-related offence in the next two years, it is almost guaranteed that you will go to jail.”
The court heard from Hal Ewing, prosecuting, that Hindley’s home was raided by police on Thursday, September 10 last year when 48 cannabis plants were recovered. Officers also found a watering system, lights, a timer, an extractor fan, digital scales, deal bags and £1,420 in cash. The electricity had been bypassed to help growth.
Mr Ewing also disclosed details of “unexplained” cash deposits of £36,000 and cheques totalling £34,000 that had been paid into Hindley’s bank accounts since 2009, indicating drug-dealing.
Former lorry-driver Hindley freely admitted growing the cannabis, and that he had been using it “for most of my life”. But he was only prepared to plead guilty to two charges on the basis that he grew it for his own use and to occasionally hand out to friends. He denied supplying or selling the drugs for profit.
“I have never sold anyone any cannabis,” he told the court. “I have never looked at cannabis as a means of making money.
“I decided to grow my own because I was fed-up of paying others and not getting what I had paid for.”
Hindley said he had no need to deal in drugs, given that he had received such a large compensation payout, plus £8,000 inheritance money when his mother died in 2011.
He said the cash and cash deposits related to the “buying and selling” of motorbikes and bike parts that he had been involved with as a hobby for almost 40 years.
However, he could not produce any records or receipts for such trading, and the judge accused Hindley of lying to the court.
“I am sure the £1,420 that was found represented the proceeds of drug-trafficking,” said Judge Sampson.
“The potential yield of all the crops found at the house was £10,000, and I am sure part of it would have been sold to other users. Therefore, I find that he has been dealing on a commercial basis.”