A DRUG dealer set up a cannabis farm in order to help a friend who was dying from cancer, a court heard.

Darren Hammersley said he was contacted by long term pal Jimmy Muirhead, who wanted him to make a supply of cannabis oil.

He told Bolton Crown Court: “He had cancer and he thought it was curing him because he had read about it on the internet.

"It didn’t cure him because he died. It was just stopping the pain but he didn’t think that at the time.”

Simon Blakebrough, prosecuting, told the court that when police raided 45-year-old Hammersley’s home in Rushton Road, Halliwell, on June 5 last year, they found amphetamine worth £850 in a kitchen freezer and a cannabis farm, consisting of 27 partially harvested plants in a bedroom.

The plants were capable of producing cannabis with a street value of up to £12,400.

Hammersley admitted to possessing amphetamine with intent to supply, possession of amphetamine on a separate occasion, extracting electricity and producing cannabis, but he maintained he was not growing the plants for commercial gain.

Hammersley detailed how Mr Muirhead, a former market worker, was spending £2,500 a time to buy a syringe of cannabis oil, known as THC.

He said he learnt how to produce the oil from Mr Muirhead’s supplier in Bradford and his friend bought the equipment in a bid to save some money.

The Honorary Recorder of Bolton, Judge Timothy Clayson said he was prepared to give Hammersley the benefit of the doubt and accept his account that he was not growing cannabis for commercial gain.

He was sentenced to 20 months in jail, suspended for 18 months. Hammersley will be subject to supervision for 12 months and must also attend 12 sessions with the drug and alcohol service.