Caravan cannabis farm man avoids jail
A father-of-one has been handed 240 hours' community service after he was caught growing cannabis in a caravan "as an experiment''.
Ryan Daniel Charles Ruddy was told by a judge that he was now at a "crossroads'' in his life - either change his drug dealing behaviour or go to prison.
The 24-year-old, of Carnenny Lane, Pomeroy, Co Tyrone, pleaded guilty to cultivating cannabis, possession of class B and C drugs, and being concerned in the supply of cannabis.
Prosecution barrister Michael McAleer told Dungannon Crown Court, sitting in Belfast, that on July 4, 2015, police searched a caravan at Carnenny Lane and found "two mature cannabis plants'' and seven seedling plants with a street value of £9,000.
A bag with 0.68 grammes of white powder was located and it was found to be the class C drug Methylethylcathione (MCE).
Ruddy told police that he had grown the cannabis as an "experiment'' for his own use, saying: "I didn't think it would work.''
The court was told that his mobile phone contained five messages which police said related to his "drug dealing activities''.
A defence barrister said that Ruddy had been caught "red-handed'' by police and that he had been abusing drugs since the age of 14.
A report by a forensic psychiatrist said that as a result the defendant now suffered from a drug-induced psychosis.
"He comes from a stable background and he accepts he has brought shame on himself and embarrassment to his family as he has now come before the criminal justice system," the defence barrister added.
The lawyer added that Ruddy was the father of a one-year child and was now "moving away from the use of drugs'' and trying to open a new chapter in his life.