A FORMER pub landlord who was found guilty of allowing cannabis to be grown on the premises has walked free from court after being given a suspended prison sentence.

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Police who searched the Red Lion in the town’s Bramford Road, where David Clarke was the manager, on December 2 last year found two rooms had been converted into a mini cannabis factory, Ipswich Crown Court heard.

The 61-year-old, of Old Norwich Road, who had previously run the Whitton Maypole pub, had denied being concerned in the production of cannabis and permitting his premises to be used for producing the Class B drug.

He was cleared of being concerned in the production of cannabis but was found guilty of allowing his premises to be used for producing the drug after a trial last week. Sentence was adjourned until yesterday (Thurs) for a pre-sentence report.

He was given a 40 week prison sentence suspended for 18 months and placed on supervision for 12 months.

Robert Sadd, prosecuting said 13 cannabis plants were found at the premises and there was a certain degree of sophistication in the enterprise.

He accepted it wasn’t a case where there was an expectation of a large financial gain.

Rebecca Lee for Clarke said his wife had died several years ago and this had resulted in him drinking heavily.

She said Clarke had been drinking excessively at the time of the offence and this had affected his judgement.

Clarke had three strokes and heart problems and no longer drank excessively. “He regrets allowing the property and himself to become involved in this offence,” said Miss Lee.

Clarke no longer has any connection to either the Red Lion or the Whitton Maypole.

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