A 34-year-old man with 108 convictions has received a suspended jail sentence after being convicted of cultivating cannabis at a property in Ballykelly.
Glen Connor, whose address was given as Ballyness Park in Coleraine, was sentenced at Limavady Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday.
The court heard police attended an address in Ballykelly on November 28, 2013.
As officers arrived, Connor exited the property and tried to prevent them reaching the front door.
The court heard officers detected a strong smell of cannabis and that Connor told police he had just smoked a joint. He then told police “you may as well come in, but this has nothing to do with me”.
Once inside, police said the windows in the room were blacked out and there was a strong smell of cannabis.
Upstairs, in a room there were heat lamps and a bed, and police discovered 11 “fairly mature” cannabis plants with a street value estimated at £5,500.
Connor said he was in the process of moving out and he denied tending to the plants. He said another person was taking over the property, however, the property owner told police he had no knowledge of that.
Defence solicitor John Fahy said despite Connor’s “extensive record”, the defendant had experienced an “absolute life change” and asked the judge to give Connor credit for his plea.
District Judge Liam McNally told Connor they were “very serious” charges and that he had a substantial amount of drugs that he was cultivating at that address.
Judge McNally said he was going to send Connor to prison, but said his hand had been stayed for several reasons.
Judge McNally noted the offence had been committed in 2013, and he had sent Connor to prison in the past for other offences. He said a pre sentence report said Connor was doing well and there are signs he had “turned the corner”.
“Whether you have or not remains to be seen,” said Judge McNally.
Connor was also convicted of possession of a class B drug and permitting the production of cannabis.
District Judge Liam McNally sentenced Connor to a five month jail sentence, suspended for three years. He warned Connor if “you blot your copy book again”, he would start off with five months in jail.