When semi-professional footballer Jonathan Hill’s career was coming to an end because of a back injury he took desperate measures and turned to cannabis.

He produced his own cannabis syrup which he took as medication.

Police who visited his home near Mold they found thousands of pounds worth of the class B drug.

Now working as a personal trainer Hill, 34, of Cadole Road in Gwernaffield, admitted possessing 1,204 kilogrammes of cannabis and producing a smaller amount - 53.2 grams of cannabis resin.

He received a 44 week prison sentence at Flintshire Magistrates Court at Mold, but it was suspended for a year.

The father-of-two was ordered to carry out 160 hours unpaid work and a £115 surcharge.

District judge Gwyn Jones said the offence did pass the custody threshold but he had decided to draw back and suspend the sentence.

Prosecutor Rhian Jackson said police executed a search warrant at his address last August and nine bottles of what was said to be cannabis oil was found but charges relating to those were dropped because of the weakness of the liquid.

Three bags of cannabis and one smaller one were found hidden on the premises which would have a street value of £12,000.

Interviewed, he said all the cannabis was for his own use and the liquid in the bottles was his medication.

He had self-medicated on cannabis because he had a fear of becoming addicted to painkilling medication, he said.

Probation officer Andrew Cunnah said Hill accepted he had been extremely naïve.

He had done some research on the medical qualities of cannabis and decided to go down that path, which he deeply regretted.

“At the time of the offence his career as a footballer was coming to an end due to an injury to his back in a weight lifting accident,” said Mr Cunnah, adding Hill had never used illegal drugs for recreational purposes.

Solicitor Lois Cullen, defending, said her client had a long term back injury which ended his footballing career but he was now working as a personal trainer and a soccer trainer.

He was also working voluntarily in a boxing gym and did community work working with vulnerable adults and children.

At the time he had been advised by others to self-medicate on cannabis because of his fear of pain killers. But he had since been to the doctor, was now taking painkilling medication and felt a lot better.

He had received surgery for his condition and was now on strong pain killers.

The court heard Hill had learnt how to prepare cannabis in syrup and in other forms by watching videos on YouTube.