A MAN used a flat in Dursley to grow almost £8,000 worth of cannabis plants because he was fed up with dealers 'robbing' him, a court heard.

Daniel Gordon, 24, of Bowbridge Lock, Stroud, was finding his cannabis habit so expensive that he grew the crop in a flat in Somerset Avenue in Dursley to supply his needs, Gloucester Crown Court was told.

But the 16 plants grew far more productively than he had ever expected in his 'wildest imagination,' the court heard.

Gordon pleaded guilty to producing the Class B drug on August 1, 2012 and was given an eight months jail term suspended for a year. He was also ordered to do 100 hours of unpaid work.

Prosecutor Lisa Hennessy said police with a warrant raided the Dursley flat and found there was no-one in. But when they got inside they heard the sound of an extractor fan and discovered it was in the main bedroom where a rectangular tent covering most of the floor was being used to grow cannabis plants.

Looking at pictures of the growing operation the Recorder, David Lane QC, described it as 'pretty sophisticated'.

The plants were about 3ft tall and would have yielded 1.27 kilos of cannabis worth £7,900, Mrs Hennessy said.

"The defendant was arrested two days later on August 3. He said he had set up the operation two months earlier using a website called 'GroWell'.

"He said it cost him about £1,000 and he decided to set up this enterprise because he couldn't afford his cannabis habit which varied from one to ten joints a day as dealers would 'sooner rob their clients than look at them'.

Joe Maloney, defending, said Gordon had not been in any criminal trouble before.

He said Gordon had a good job as a plant operator, he was well respected at the rugby club where he plays and he has a four-year-old daughter with difficulties who needs his help and support.

"There is no suggestion that he was involved in cannabis supply," said Mr Maloney. "He was successful beyond his wildest imagination in growing so many plants that were capable of producing just under £8,000 worth of the drug."

Gordon was now drug free and determined to remain so, added Mr Maloney.

Recorder David Lane QC told Gordon said growing such a large amount of cannabis was serious and there had to be a prison sentence but he was able to suspend it.