An All Cannings pensioner grew cannabis because it helped ease the pain of his arthritis, Salisbury magistrates heard on Tuesday.

Irving Fuchs, 73, of The Street, All Cannings, pleaded guilty to production of 40 plants at his home when he appeared before the bench.

Kate Prince, prosecuting, told the court that, following a tip-off from a member of the public, police visited Mr Fuchs’ home in August and found five plants growing in the rear garden, four in a home-made greenhouse, ten in a polytunnel and four growing in the front garden.

Inside they found six plants on the kitchen windowsill and another 11 in an upstairs bedroom. Mr Fuchs told police he had been smoking cannabis since he was a teenager and enjoyed it. The drugs he cultivated were for his own personal use.

Raymond Tan, defending, said that some of the 40 plants seized by police were no more than cuttings but admitted that some of the plants were mature.

Mr Tan said: “At this stage of his life Mr Fuchs spends quite a bit of his time in the house on his own. As his arthritis gets worse he uses cannabis to ease the pain. He does not go out at all and growing the cannabis is his pastime.”

Mr Tan produced a number of letters of support from Mr Fuchs’s neighbours and, in his own letter to the bench, Mr Fuchs revealed he is to be evicted from his home and has been given two months’ notice to quit. His only source of income is from benefits.

The bench fined Mr Fuchs £100 with £50 costs and £15 victim surcharge. He was given seven days to pay.

Mr Fuchs’s arrest was one of three for cultivation of cannabis in the Devizes area within recent months. In May police raided a house in Worton and found a number of plants.

Then, last Thursday, at around 11.30am police who had been called to a report of men acting suspiciously in the Sarum Drive area of Devizes stumbled on nine plants in a greenhouse.

A local man has been spoken to and is due to be questioned further tomorrow.

PC Adam Hall said: “The officers who attended smelt a familiar smell which led them to the greenhouse. I have never known us to have three cases like this in succession.”