A CANNABIS farmer who was growing a crop with a potential street value of £133,000 escaped an immediate prison sentence.

David Kenny, aged 30, from Newport, initially claimed to police the drugs were for his own personal use and that of his girlfriend.

Prosecutor Jason Howells said he told detectives: “We smoke a lot of cannabis.”

Officers raided the home of the defendant’s partner Kelly Holland in Newport’s Sullivan Circle last year.

Mr Howells told Cardiff Crown Court how they found 17 cannabis plants in an upstairs bedroom that were being grown by Kenny.

Judge Neil Bidder QC heard how police calculated the eventual yield had an estimated potential street value of as much as £133,000.

Kenny pleaded guilty to producing cannabis on September 27, 2018.

The court heard he had previous convictions for violence and drink-driving but none for drugs offences.

Gareth Williams, mitigating, said his client had suffered from both alcohol and drug addiction and his life was a “sad story” after suffering a “trauma” in his youth.

The court heard how the formerly homeless man has now found somewhere to live in Newport’s Chepstow Road.

If he were sent to prison, the judge was told, Kenny would lose his accommodation and it would mean he would be back on the streets again upon his release.

The defendant was jailed for 20 weeks, suspended for 18 months.

Kenny must also complete a 20-day rehabilitation activity requirement and pay a £115 victim surcharge.

Holland, aged 30, of Sullivan Circle, Newport, also appeared in court after she pleaded guilty to allowing her premises to be used for the production of cannabis.

Andrew Kendall, mitigating, said the drugs were grown in a locked room that only her boyfriend had they key for.

He added: “She did not expect to receive any financial gain.”

Judge Bidder sentenced Holland to a 12-month community order and told her she must complete a 15-day rehabilitation activity requirement.

She must also observe an 8pm-8am curfew for a month and pay a victim surcharge of £85.

Both she and Kenny will be the subject of Proceeds of Crime Act proceedings due to be held later this year to determine if they did financially benefit from the drugs.