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Cannabis mum spared prison

A mother-of-six caught with a stash of cannabis at her Sittingbourne home has been spared prison.

A judge said he was going to give her one chance to prove she could kick her drug habit.

“I hope it will soon dawn upon you that cannabis is not the route to happiness,” he told Tara Crayden.

Maidstone Crown Court heard last month how police raided the 29-year-old’s home in Meads Avenue, Quinton, on July 16 last year and seized 407 grams of cannabis worth up to £1,800 on the street.

Crayden, whose children have been taken into care, denied possessing the drugs with intent to supply, but was convicted.

She had admitted simple possession.

The jury was told there had been a “considerable amount” of cannabis spread around the house.

Jonathan Turner, prosecuting, said 111 grams of the drug wrapped in tin foil and Clingfilm was in an underwear drawer.

Officers also found a block of cannabis known as a nine bar, because it weighed 9oz.

“Her telephone was analysed to see if there was anything to indicate the defendant was dealing in drugs,” said the prosecutor. “And there was.”

Benjamin Keith, prosecuting at the sentencing hearing on Thursday, said the prosecution case was Crayden was in cahoots with a neighbour, who was not prosecuted.

Judge Andrew Patience QC expressed surprised that no action was taken against the man. “At first blush, it is astonishing,” he said.

Katrina Jamieson, defending, said on the Crown’s case the neighbour was the “big fish” in the operation.

Crayden, she said, became involved in criminality that was out of her league.

She had a tragic life. Having been born with brain damage, she went into care at a young age.

She began using cannabis and had her first child at the age of 16.

“A prison sentence would not be in the interests of justice,” said Miss Jamieson. “It would have very little rehabilitative effect.

"It would be tantamount to a death sentence, as there is a risk of suicide.

“She desperately needs help. If she goes into custody, there is a real risk she won’t come out alive.”

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