An out of work man caught growing cannabis plants at home told gardaí he was growing them to get money to pay the bills, a court has heard.
Mark Hyde (42) of Kippure Park, Finglas, Dublin pleaded guilty to possession for sale or supply of cannabis at his home on February 4th, 2020.
Rónán Prendargast BL, prosecuting, told Dublin Circuit Criminal Court that gardaí went to the house on that date with a search warrant and found 15 seed trays with one cannabis seed in a soil sod in each.
They also found plants growing in two tents and Hyde told gardaí that all the plants were his and that he had forced his partner to go along with it.
He showed them four large plastic tubs of cannabis leaf. This was later estimated to have a street value of just under €7,000.
Hyde told them that the smaller of two tents was used to germinate the seeds and that once the plants were bigger he moved them into the larger tent.
He admitted that he intended to harvest all the plants and sell the cannabis leaf to a number of friends. He said he was doing this to get money to pay bills and said he was struggling financially.
The court heard that Hyde has a previous conviction from Mullingar Circuit Court for cultivation of cannabis on December 3rd, 2012. He received a suspended prison sentence of three years for this.
At that sentence hearing in 2014 he was also ordered to carry out community service for an offence of forgery.
Defence counsel Simon Matthews BL told the court that his client was not running a large wholesale drug dealing operation, but was supplying to around three friends. He was doing this to pay the bills and a garda witness agreed with counsel that Hyde did not have any trappings of wealth.
Mr Matthews said his client was involved in a Community Employment scheme and receiving rent allowance. He said he is aware he could lose his home as a result of these convictions.
Judge Melanie Greally adjourned sentencing to February next. She ordered Hyde to engage with the Probation Service in the hope that he may learn “the skills to avoid cultivating drugs when he encounters hardship or financial difficulties”.