A man who admitted growing 14 cannabis plants has been spared a prison sentence after a judge accepted that the drug was being grown to help the man treat a debilitating medical condition.

Dean Gilbourne admitted he was growing the plants in his home in Doncaster at Sheffield Crown Court on Friday (26 January).

The court heard that the 52-year-old was self-medicating as he suffers from fibromyalgia.

Also known as fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS), it is a long-term condition that causes pain all over the body and is incurable.

Symptoms include muscle stiffness, fatigue, headaches, difficulty sleeping and problems with mental processes.

Prosecutor Carl Fitch said that the haul could yield around 1.26kg of the Class B drug and that police discovered the plants in Elm Road, Armthorpe, as they were investigating another crime.

"They attended the defendant's address and outside they found four cannabis plants. "There was a front-facing garage where they found 12 more plants within the garage," said Fitch according to the Doncaster Free Press.

"There were the usual lights, extraction fans involved in the cultivation of cannabis."

Gilbourne had already admitted the production of cannabis at an earlier hearing and Andrew Swaby, mitigating, said he pleaded guilty on the basis it would be accepted that the drug was being grown to help him with the pain caused by his medical condition.

Swaby said: "You have accepted it was grown for the defendant's personal use for his significant health problems involving fibromyalgia."

Swaby added that due to the maturity of the cannabis it was difficult to assess just how many would grow into adult plants.

Gilbourne was handed a 26-week prison sentance suspended for 12-months, and ordered him to complete a 20-day rehabilitation activity requirement.

Judge Robert Moore said: "Your cannabis growing operation is so serious that only a sentence of imprisonment can be justified. But I am satisfied that the sentence should be suspended."