A CLYDEBANK man caught growing cannabis worth thousands of pounds at his flat in the town has been spared prison after his lawyer told a court he had been “an easy target” for others.

Fifteen cannabis plants with an estimated value of £200 per plant were found at David Graham’s home at Duncombe View, North Drumry, on January 5.

The 60-year-old appeared in court for sentencing on Friday after pleading guilty at an earlier hearing to producing a controlled drug.

Fiscal depute Meghan Glancey told Dumbarton Sheriff Court that Graham “spoke frankly” to police who interviewed him after the search, stating that the plants all belonged to him and were for his own personal use.

Sentence had been deferred until Friday’s hearing to allow social workers time to prepare a background report.

But Graham’s solicitor, Judith Reid, said the social worker’s report gave a “slightly different explanation” for the cultivation to the one that Graham had given to police.

Ms Reid said: “This is a man who has been a bit of an easy target for somebody else.

“He has great difficulty with social interaction, is very isolated, and has problems with literacy.

“He has no previous convictions and seems to have had a good working life.”

Noting a mention in the social work report of Graham’s alcohol issues, Sheriff John Hamilton said he believed a community payback order, with supervision and alcohol counselling, might help.

“Drink is a problem,” Sheriff Hamilton said.

“Supervision and counselling might make him less vulnerable to exploitation in the future.

“However, if we treat this as a case of a vulnerable person being exploited, those who are doing that have to see the consequences.”

Sheriff Hamilton told Graham: “You have no previous convictions, and according to the report, you are vulnerable to an extent.

“I am concerned about your alcohol misuse. It appears you can see that alcohol is a problem for you.”

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Graham was placed under social workers’ supervision for 12 months, and must attend for alcohol counselling as directed by his supervisor during that time.

Sheriff Hamilton added: “If it is established that you have failed to comply with any requirement under the order, you can be sentenced in any way the court sees fit – and that does include custody.”