A MAN who admitted assisting in creating a cannabis farm has avoided being sent to prison.

David Haw, of Moor Road, Stamford Bridge, appeared before York Crown Court yesterday, after he pleaded guilty to being concerned in the production of a controlled drug.

The court heard Haw, 50, admitted purchasing cannabis seeds on his credit card in 2008 and 2009, and helped to put up plastic sheeting at a property in Pinfold Hill, Wistow, which had been modified to allow the growth of a number of cannabis plants.

Police were alerted to the farm by the fire service on September 16, 2010, when they were called to the property to extinguish a large house fire which almost destroyed the crop. Stephanie Paulson, prosecuting, told the court Haw had been reimbursed for the seeds, which were bought from two websites, and was also paid £300 for helping to put up the plastic sheeting, on which police found his fingerprints after the fire.

Ms Paulson said Haw admitted he had bought the seeds for others involved in the illegal enterprise, but had refused to name them when interviewed.

Mitigating, Glen Parsons told the court Haw recognised the seriousness of the matter and that he had put his liberty at stake by becoming involved in the illegal enterprise. Recorder Stephen Ashurst sentenced Haw to six months imprisonment, suspended for 18 months, and 200 hours unpaid work, and said this was due to his guilty plea, and involvement as a “minnow” in the operation.

Judge Ashurst said: “Even people involved on the fringes of this type of operation need to know there will be consequences. The people involved in this enterprise went into it with wide open eyes and a view to making significant profits.”