A FORMER drug addict has been jailed after growing cannabis plants “as an experiment”.

Leon Childs, 24, of Cliffsea Grove, Leigh, grew five plants in the back garden of his girlfriend’s house in Rayleigh and made no attempt to hide them from neighbours.

When police raided the property on August 28 they also found 240g of cannabis in a kitchen draw, which Childs intended to sell.

The drugs, which were separated into 18 individual bags, had not been harvested from the plants and had come from a dealer.

Basildon Crown Court heard how Childs planned to sell the stash on for a profit in order to feed his own £60 a day drug habit, which began when he was just 13.

Richard Stevens, prosecuting, said: “It was clear from information obtained by the police that Mr Childs had substantial contact with his girlfriend’s home. Mortgage statements also indicated that Mr Childs was actually paying the mortgage on that house.”

The court heard that his girlfriend was also arrested at the time of the raid, and miscarried the couples unborn twins whilst at the police station.

During mitigation, Nicholas Walsh said: “He will have to live with the guilt of that for the rest of his life.

“Mr Childs has worked throughout his life as a bricklayer and somehow managed to continue working despite his £60 a day drug habit. The cannabis began to have little or no effect on him and such was his reliance on it that smoking it was a way of making himself what he considered to be normal.

“For the first time in a long time he is no longer on cannabis and has no interest in doing so anymore.”

Walsh went on to explain that Childs grew the cannabis plants because he was curious and never expected them to grow six feet high and four feet wide.

They remained untouched as he had no idea how to harvest the drugs.

Judge Jonathan Black jailed Childs for 12 months after he admitted producing a class B drug and possession of a class B drug with intent to supply.