Friday, June 17, 2011

Peter Holland caught Growing a Cannabis Farm claimed up to £16,000 in state benefits - because smoking cannabis makes him too depressed to work

A father of two who legally pocketed up to £16,000 in state benefits because he smokes cannabis was condemned by a judge today.

Paul Holland, 21, who has been smoking the drug since he was ten said it made him depressed and he had been prescribed anti-depressants as a result.

But his condition meant he was able to claim £60 a week incapacity benefit on the grounds his illness has made him unable to work since he left school at 16.

He also has a six-month-old baby with a long-term medical problem.

At Burnley Crown Court, a senior judge condemned the payments at taxpayers' expense after Holland appeared before him over a cannabis farm he grew at his home in Church, near Accrington in Lancashire.

Judge Heather Lloyd told him: 'No doubt a significant part of your problems are caused by excessive use of cannabis.

'I'm not a doctor, but there is plenty of medical evidence to show it is not uncommon for depression and anxiety, which could lead to paranoia, to be found with cannabis use.

'You could do something about your problems whilst others who may have been born with health difficulties couldn't.

'I find it astonishing that somebody who may be self inflicting these problems upon themselves is able to get incapacity benefits at this level.'

She gave Holland 26 weeks in prison, suspended for two years, with 12 months supervision and 80 hours unpaid work. He must pay £100 costs. Read More