A FATHER’S cannabis operation was discovered in the loft of his Basingstoke home by firefighters responding to reports of flooding.

Firefighters rushed to James Feary’s house in Wiltshire Crescent and discovered nine cannabis plants being grown, worth around £3,600.

Feary, 31, now of Alliston Way, appeared at Winchester Crown Court on Thursday to be sentenced after he admitted to producing the Class B drug.

The court was told that he began taking cannabis after suffering a head injury in 2019 which causes migraines.

In mitigation, Alexandra Chessum, said: “He knows it is illegal and it would be easy to condemn him for carrying on that use and growing his own plants, but I would submit that because this is used for pain relief it is quite hard [for him] to turn away from that use.”

Following his arrest Feary has looked at other ways to “obtain cannabis through legitimate means” and now carries a Cancard, so he can be registered for using the drug for medical reasons.

Ms Chessum said that he is also now registered with Sapphire Medical Clinics which provide medical cannabis, including cannabis oil and leaf.

When emergency services attended Feary’s home on December 27, 2019, a hydroponic tent was found in the loft.

Prosecutor, Edward Culver said: “The reason for the flood is that the hydroponic system was left one from a tap going down to the kitchen and that had led to the several inches of water.”

Mr Culver said that the flood caused “substantial damage” to the property.

Also found at Feary’s home was 208.2grams of cannabis, 116.5grams of which was skunk, along with 206.5grams of cannabutter and “would have used this through ingestion through food”.

The court was told that Feary “recognises that he put his family at risk” as there was cannabis found around the house.

Judge Jane Miller QC handed Feary 200 hours unpaid work and he must pay £500 towards the prosecution costs.

No evidence was offered on two further charges of possessing a controlled drug of Class B with intent.