A business owner was caught with cocaine and a taser hidden in a paddling pool and a cannabis farm in his loft.

Michael Whitehouse was storing £12,000 of the class A drugs and weapon for a criminal associate when police raided his home in Newcastle.

In the loft they found 27 cannabis plants - 12 large and 15 small - worth around £18,000, some of which he used to produce high purity cannabis "shatter" and some of which he would sell.

There were also 137g of cannabis bush in a kitchen cupboard.

Newcastle Crown Court heard it was on February 8, 2018 that police raided the home Whitehouse was sharing with then-partner, Patricia Rice.

Lewis Kerr, prosecuting, said: "The cocaine was found in an outbuilding contained in bags that were themselves contained in a swimming pool that was presumably uninflated.

"The defendant has pleaded guilty on the basis he was retaining the cocaine for his dealer.

"The weapon was recovered from within the bag containing the cocaine in the swimming pool in the shed. It was taser and was in working order."

Michael Whitehouse's cannabis farm

Whitehouse, 33, of Mulberry Gardens, Felling, Gateshead, who has 19 previous convictions, pleaded guilty to producing cannabis, possession with intent to supply cannabis, possessing cannabis shatter, possessing a prohibited torch taser and being concerned in the supply of cocaine.

He was sentenced to two years suspended for two years with 100 hours unpaid work, a four month curfew between 8pm and 7am and rehabilitation.

Rice, 33, of Cherry Tree Walk, Hebburn, who has no previous convictions, admitted allowing premises to be used for the production of cannabis and was sentenced to a community order for 18 months with 120 hours unpaid work.

Matthew Purves, for Whitehouse, said: "He has a long history with cannabis and began growing it for himself and some of it would have been supplied.

"He is no fool or down and out. He has engaged in running a business in the past.

"He has a true entrepreneurial spirit within him and has developed a business operating sanitising services which appears to be progressing nicely."

Rachel Hedworth, for Rice, said: "She's extremely sorry.

"She left the address and ended the relationship with Whitehouse after this.

"She got carried away during the relationship. She felt strongly about him and that clouded her judgement.

"She has always been responsible and hard-working."