A KINGSWINFORD man who started growing cannabis when the "dream" convenience shop he set up with his savings hit financial difficulties, has been spared jail.

Joseph Brogan had worked in the construction industry and he had always wanted to set up his own business, Elizabeth Power, defending, told Wolverhampton Crown Court.

But the 50-year-old then had money troubles, which resulted in the closure of his shop and because he needed to put cash into his pocket, he set up a cannabis farm.

He took to drink and drugs and after he was given advice by a friend on how to make some easy money, he began growing the controlled drug.

Miss Power said it was not a sophisticated cannabis growing system and he hand fed the plants rather than using a hydroponic set up.

She also maintained the prosecution case that the plants could have been valued at up to £28,000 depending, on how they were sold on the street, could not be relied on because a number of them may not have reached maturity.

When police officers armed with a search warrant went to Brogan’s caravan in Oak Lane, they found 28 plants were being cultivated, said Sati Ruck, prosecuting.

She said Brogan was immediately frank with the officers and he told them he set up the farm because he was unemployed and in debt.

Brogan admitted producing cannabis and he was given a 34 week jail term suspended for two years.

He was also ordered to carry out 200 hours unpaid work in the community and pay £530 costs.

Judge Martin Walsh told him: "This was clearly cultivation for commercial gain."