‘Drug aided pain’

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A serial criminal who used cannabis to relieve back pain was sentenced for his 27th offence in the last 14 years on Thursday.

Daniel Fellingham, 39, from Mountbatten Road, Sudbury, pleaded guilty to two charges of possessing cannabis and one of producing the drug at Bury St Edmunds Magistrates’ Court.

The court heard that police officers searched the home Fellingham shares with his pregnant partner and three children on February 23.

Rosalind Cappleman, prosecuting, said: “He was asked if there were any illegal drugs in the property and he led the officers to a kitchen cupboard where there was some herbal cannabis.

“He then stated that he had a cannabis plant in the airing cupboard.”

Fellingham’s home was searched again on March 4.

“There was a pungent odour of cannabis coming from the kitchen and he told officers he had just had a joint,” said Miss Cappleman, who added that just under three-and-a-half grammes of herbal cannabis was found in the house, valued at around £30.

The court heard Fellingham had 14 previous convictions for 24 offences, nine of which were for drug-related matters, since 1999.

He also admitted breaching a 12-month conditional discharge given to him in October for production of cannabis, having already breached it in December when no action was taken.

In mitigation, Sally Dale said her client had used cannabis in recent years as an additional painkiller.

“Six years ago, he suffered a serious injury to his back and has not been fit for work since – he is in constant pain,” she said.

Mrs Dale said he had stopped using prescription painkillers as they caused trouble sleeping.

“He got into the habit of smoking one or two joints each evening after his children had gone to bed to relax,” she said.

Mrs Dale said Fellingham has been given new medication and had stopped using cannabis, while his partner had been cautioned by police for allowing him to smoke it in the house.

“The circumstances are made worse as his partner is due to give birth in the next two weeks,” said Mrs Dale.

“She has been hospitalised so he is looking after the three children. He says he won’t go back to cannabis, largely due to the consequences for his partner rather than himself.”

Fellingham was fined £100, and told to pay £20 in court costs.