Ex-soldier sentenced for ‘cannabis factory’

Latest crime and court news from the Suffolk Free Press, suffolkfreepress.co.uk, @sfpsudbury on Twitter

Latest crime and court news from the Suffolk Free Press, suffolkfreepress.co.uk, @sfpsudbury on Twitter

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An ex-Army sergeant who grew thousands of pounds of cannabis to help cope with post-traumatic stress has avoided prison.

Iain Fordham, from First Avenue, Sudbury, was found with 447 grammes of cannabis – with a street value of £4,000 – after police raided his home.

Twelve plants, which were estimated would produce drugs worth between £2,000 and £8,000, were also discovered.

Fordham, who spent 21 years in the Royal Anglian Regiment, appeared at Bury St Edmunds Magistrates’ Court on Friday having admitted charges of possessing and producing cannabis.

At a previous hearing last month, the court heard that the 38-year-old had kept cannabis plants, electrical gauges and a lighting and hydroponic system in his shed.

Prosecutor Wayne Ablett said Fordham had made full admissions in police interview and claimed the drug was for his own use.

In mitigation, Malcolm Plummer said Fordham had served four tours in Afghanistan as well as serving in Bosnia, Northern Ireland and Kosovo and suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of his experiences.

He added that the amount of equipment made the drug production at the house look more serious.

“Looking at the amounts here, you would think this looks like a professional drug dealing factory but it quite clearly isn’t,” Mr Plummer said.

Fordham was sentenced to 150 hours’ unpaid work in the community. He was also told to pay £85 costs and a £60 victim surcharge.