Man, 69, who grew drugs is spared jail

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A PENSIONER who grew cannabis at home to help ease pains caused by skin cancer has been spared jail after winning the sympathy of a judge.

Grandfather Roy Wilkinson, 69, set up equipment and grew plants with a street value of £4,500, Sheffield Crown Court heard.

He has recently undergone weeks of radiotherapy for basal cell carcinoma which left a lump the size of a marble on his face.

He was facing jail but, after Judge Peter Kelson read a letter from Mr Wilkinson’s consultant, he said he would not send him to prison.

The judge told him: “Until I read that letter which told me about your carcinoma which occurred in 2009 and again in 2012, requiring you to have 20 sessions of radiotherapy, despite your age I would have sent you to prison along with all the other people of all ages.

“But in the light of your obvious difficulty I will not send you into immediate prison.”

Former taxi proprietor and driver Wilkinson, who is married with two children and a grandson, was caught red-handed by police who raided his home in Hopwood Street, Barnsley.

Officers found eight cannabis plants in the attic and two further juvenile plants in a shed.

If the plants had grown to maturity the potential yield would have fetched £4,500 on the streets, said Neil Coxon, prosecuting.

Andrew Smith, defending, said Wilkinson had only finished his course of radiotherapy last Friday.

Judge Kelson gave Wilkinson a six-month jail term suspended for two years.

He warned him: “Should you be tempted to take the law into your own hands again you will go to prison.”

After the hearing Wilkinson thanked the judge for his leniency and said: “The cannabis took away my pain and also gave me peace of mind.

“I feared going to prison. My wife is not in good health and I need to look after her as well.”