A MAN caught with thousands of pounds of cannabis was spared jail after revealing the drugs were used to treat his ex-wife’s epilepsy and “effectively stopped her seizures”.

Jason Ratford, 39, was found with 696 grams – the equivalent of almost 25 ounces – when police raided his home in Sorrel Court, Laindon.

The drugs, if sold on the street, could be worth up to £6,000.

However, during his sentencing hearing at Basildon Crown Court yesterday, Ratford’s lawyers revealed he had largely brought the drugs to help treat his wife.

Ratford’s wife developed epilepsy in 2012 following the birth of one of their children, resulting in her having frequent seizures and found cannabis was effective in helping her manage the illness.

However, Ratford was unable to afford to continuously buy the Class B drug for his ex-partner and he began selling cannabis in a bid to help her.

Kevin Toomey, mitigating for Ratford, said: “The cannabis assisted Mr Ratford’s ex-wife in effectively stopping her seizures but this led to difficulties with the family’s finances.

“They could not afford to finance the amount of cannabis needed for her to stay clear of the seizures, leading to Mr Ratford selling some to afford more.

“They unfortunately split up last year due to difficulties exacerbated by the stress of this case.”

At his home, officers also found a “small quantity of cocaine” and Ratford was charged with possession with intent to supply a controlled drug of Class B and possession of a controlled drug of Class A.

Tim Devlin, prosecuting, said: “At a prior hearing on November six His Honour Judge Collery said it was accepted by the crown this was a social supply.

“However, because Mr Ratford has a previous conviction of drunk driving, Judge Collery said he was at risk of being in custody.”

The court heard Ratford openly admitted to using cannabis since he was 14 and this, coupled with his ex-wife’s usage to treat her epilepsy, led to Ratford dealing to family and friends.

Recorder Angela Frost handed Ratford a 16 month community order. He is also required to complete 100 hours of unpaid work within the next year.