TYDD GOTE: Single dad spared jail for drug offences after judge offers praise for parenting

PUBLISHED: 16:32 18 August 2008 | UPDATED: 08:36 02 June 2010

A SINGLE father who was caught with cannabis valued at more than £4,000 was today (Mon) spared jail by a judge. Police seized over a kilo of cannabis bush and resin from Michael Howling during a raid at his home in Tydd Gote, near Wisbech. A court heard

A SINGLE father who was caught with cannabis valued at more than £4,000 was today (Mon) spared jail by a judge.

Police seized over a kilo of cannabis bush and resin from Michael Howling during a raid at his home in Tydd Gote, near Wisbech.

A court heard how officers found a large quantity of cannabis on the lounge table, along with plastic bags and a set of electronic scales.

A further haul of the drug was then discovered hidden on the roof of the 40-year-old's shed, said Edna Leonard, prosecuting.

The total street value of the drugs seized from the property during the raid on March 18 this year was estimated at 4,186 pounds.

When quizzed by police Howling initially claimed the cannabis was for his own personal use but later admitted limited supplying.

James Bruce, mitigating, told the court Howling, who has previous drugs convictions, was the sole carer for his 14-year-old daughter.

"Despite his cannabis use, she is a grade-A student who aspires to go to university and do a journalism degree," said Mr Bruce.

Lincoln Crown Court was told Howling's cannabis use became more pronounced after his relationship with a long-term partner ended.

Passing sentence, Judge John Machin said he was sparing him jail because of the good work he had done in raising his child.

He told Howling: "It is quite clear from your record between 1990 and 1997 that you were before the courts for drug-dealing.

"Cases like this normally result in immediate imprisonment. However, you have done a remarkable job in bringing up your daughter."

Howling, of Main Road, Tydd Gote, pleaded guilty to a charge of possessing cannabis with intent to supply as a result of the incident.

He was given 12 months' jail, suspended for a year, with 12 months' supervision and told to carry out 120 hours' community punishment.


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