A BRADFORD Council employee caught growing 34 cannabis plants in his cellar will keep his job after he was not sent to prison.

Paul Marshall, 46, could potentially have produced an annual crop of almost 4 kilos of the drug, Bradford Crown Court was told yesterday.

Marshall was arrested on January 28 when police officers broke into his home in Broomfield Street, Queensbury, prosecutor Dave MacKay said.

They seized 34 cannabis plants, including 11 that were fully grown, and two tubs of dried cannabis.

Marshall, who told police he was a heavy cannabis user, pleaded guilty to production of the Class B drug.

He said he grew the cannabis for himself but gave some away to friends.

Marshall's barrister, Emma Downing, said he had clocked up 30 years service with the Council.

The authority had pledged to keep him on unless he was sent immediately to jail.

Miss Downing said Marshall was ashamed and remorseful and had drastically cut his cannabis intake.

The judge, Recorder Robert Spragg, said he was of positive good character.

He was sentenced to six months imprisonment, suspended for 12 months, with a low level Drug Rehabilitation Requirement.