A HUNTINGDON man who cultivated more than a year’s supply of cannabis to ease a painkiller addiction has been spared a jail term.

A HUNTINGDON man who cultivated more than a year's supply of cannabis to ease a painkiller addiction has been spared a jail term.

Tony Osborne, 30, of Wilberforce Terrace, was growing 45 one-metre-high cannabis plants at an address in Huntingdon when police officers executed a warrant and raided the property.

Inside they found cannabis with a street value of nearly £14,000, and a full set of hydroponic equipment for the drug's cultivation.

Appearing at Huntingdon Crown Court on Monday (July 11), Osborne was sentenced to 130 hours of unpaid work and given a 12-month supervision order, having admitted the offence at an earlier hearing.

Prosecutor Jacob Edwards told the court that expert evidence suggested that if the cannabis had been "chain-smoked" to keep the smoker permanently high, the supply could have lasted approximately 60 weeks.

He said: "It would have been worth £13,841 if all the cannabis had been sold in two-ounce street deals."

He said that officers executed a warrant at a house in The Whaddons, Huntingdon, on March 23 after intelligence revealed a "strong smell" coming from the house.

Though not the owner of the house, Osborne had been "regularly" staying there, said Mr Edwards.

When officers raided the property they found "a full set of equipment to keep the plants alive" including a hydroponics system.

At the time of the offence, Osborne was on a conditional discharge for a theft offence committed in April 2010.

John Kirkpatrick, mitigating, said Osborne had cultivated the cannabis as a "relatively small operation for his own use", which he used to ease his addiction to codeine.

Osborne had suffered a burst stomach ulcer in September 2010, for which he had been prescribed the powerful pain killer.

When he became addicted to the drug, doctors stopped his prescription and Osborne starting using cannabis "in order to slow down or stop his craving for codeine", said Mr Kirkpatrick.

He said Osborne had co-operated fully with police, entered a guilty plea at the earliest opportunity and was attending Addaction to receive help with his dependency.