A farmer's secret cannabis factory went up in smoke when a barn caught fire.

Firemen dousing down the flames discovered a room containing four tents, two of which contained specialised equipment and some cannabis leaf.

Kevin Jones, prosecuting, told Swansea crown court last week that the police were called and they found between 19 and 28 cannabis plants, plus three litres of plant food.

Michael Hirst, 48, of Bryn Banc Farm, Lampeter Velfrey, admitted cultivating cannabis.

Mr Jones said there was no evidence Hirst had been dealing in the drug and the prosecution accepted he was growing cannabis for his own use.

Hirst, who represented himself in court, said he had been involved in two bad car crashes and was in constant pain.

“Cannabis eases the pain,” he added.

Hirst was jailed for 16 weeks, suspended for 12 months.

Judge Paul Thomas asked Hirst if he intended to gow any more cannabis plants.

“Whatever you think about the properties of cannabis it is against the law to cultivate it or to possess it.

“You were growing plants in a large and sophisticated operation, apparently for the medicinal benefit.

“You know it is against the law,” he added.

He warned Hirst that if he was caught again the jail sentence would be activated.