A CONVICTED child abuser has been spared jail despite living at a property where a young girl regularly stayed.

Stephen Jackson, 59, was found to be growing ‘a significant amount’ of the cannabis and staying at an address in Ammanford where a child was present last month.

Jackson was convicted of indecently assaulting a girl under 14 and gross indecency at Woolwich in 2010.

He was made the subject of a sexual harm prevention order (SHPO) to protect the public against serious sexual harm.

Jackson’s circumstances came to light when a drug warrant was executed at his flat in Maes y Fron, Garnant on October 10.

Jackson was not at home when police raided the property, and discovered 17 cannabis plants being grown in a tent in a bedroom, with a vent pipe linked up to the chimney.

Police also found plant food, tools for growing and harvesting cannabis and magazines about growing the drug.

After making enquires, police found Jackson was staying at an address in Ammanford.

Jackson had been staying at the address between August 1 and October 11 without notifying authorities; failing to comply with conditions of his SHPO.

Further enquiries found a girl under the age of 16 had been occasionally staying at the property.

When police interviewed him, Jackson said he took cannabis to help with depression and had started to grow his own after it got ‘a bit expensive’.

He said he was fully aware of the obligations of his Sexual Harm Prevention Order but had be staying at his acquaintances’ property because it was easier due to the extent of his cannabis-growing set-up.

Jackson confirmed the female child had stayed at the house on ‘at least two or three occasions’ while he had been there.

It was estimated the 17 cannabis plants would have produced drugs to the value of £8,640 at full maturity.

Jackson’s representative, David Williams, requested Llanelli magistrates sentence Jackson earlier than planned as the defendant had a holiday booked.

Jackson was sentenced to a total of 26 weeks in prison, suspended for two years for producing a controlled class B drug, one count of failing to comply with the notification requirements of his Sexual Harm Prevention Order and two counts of breaching his Sexual Harm Prevention Order by staying at an address where a female child under 16 years of age was staying on Thursday, November 16.

Jackson must participate in up to 10 days of rehabilitation activity.

He was ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £115 and court costs of £85.

The 17 cannabis plants are to be destroyed.