A KILWINNING man who claimed to be growing £20,000 worth of cannabis to use as a painkiller after a dog bit off his nose, has avoided prison.
William Curran, 59, was caught after a police raid on his home uncovered seven plants and more than five kilos of leaf and bud.
Officers also seized sophisticated heating and lighting equipment along with fertilisers and watering gear.
Jo Cunningham, prosecuting, said each plant was worth up to £350 'depending on its weight and condition'.
She told Kilmarnock Sheriff Court: "The total weight was 5.377kg and the bud and leaf combined value was reported to us as £20,000."
Curran admitted producing cannabis at his former home in Sundrum Place, Pennyburn, in December, 2011.
Sheriff Alistair Watson said: "What concerns me is the volume of the material which speaks for itself, as does the degree of sophistication."
But Laura Anne Radcliffe, defending, said Curran had pleaded guilty on the basis of personal cultivation 'despite the amounts involved'.
Miss Radliffe added: "This was a genuine case in which he relied upon cannabis due to the significant amount of pain he was suffering.
"He found himself dependent upon cannabis which he could not afford and so he decided to grow the drug."
Curran's social inquiry report detailed serious injuries and nerve damage after he was bitten on the face by a dog in 2009.
Miss Radcliffe said: "As a result his nose was bitten off which resulted in significant reconstructive surgery.
"He was prescribed pain relief but felt he needed cannabis. It has been made clear to him that cannabis cannot be used as pain relief and his doctor has now prescribed another drug."
Father-of-two Curran, an unemployed former spraypainter now of Glasgow, also suffered significant lung disease, the court heard.
Sheriff Watson said he had avoided custody 'by the skin of your teeth', adding: "This was sophisticated and involved a large amount.
"This increases the amount of cannabis in the community, even if it was for your own use.
"Custody would have been fully justified were it not for your health and circumstances."
Curran, who had convictions dating back to 1970, was given one year's supervision and 200 hours unpaid work on light duties.