Usually sucking at dealing drugs is a disadvantage. The less sly dope slingers are generally the more likely to end up doing time for it. But it turns out there are exceptions. The geography of the Earth says that if you walk far enough in one direction, you end up back where you started. Similarly, if you suck bad enough at dealing weed, you can actually go past the point of being a prosecutable offender to just being an idiot pitied by the police.

That’s what happened to Joshua Hughes of the U.K. The 40 marijuana plants found in his possession were, according to the Gazette Live, “too puny to ever be worth harvesting.”

Since this whole incident went down in jolly old England, there’s actually a much more British way to put it: Hughes was, as the Gazette put it, “spared from jail because he was rubbish at it.”

Hughes started his inept operation after buying a grow kit for £200 and watching how-to videos on YouTube. The grow involved significant lighting and ventilation. One thing the beginner did right was to bypass the electricity meter to save a little scratch. Of course, this too was discovered at his infraction, but Hughes has denied he was the one responsible, and might even skate out of some heavy gas and electric fines.

Hughes’ downfall was his irrigation. The set-up leaked water so bad that the grower’s landlord had to check things out. When the landlord discovered the withering stash, he called in the fuzz.

But when the cops’ evidence got to Judge Simon Bourne-Arton QC, the judge was so unimpressed with the crop that he said, “Well, I’m not going to say that it was a commercial grow.”

Even Hughes’ lawyer belittled him in court, saying the defendant “had neither the wit, expertise or dedication to maintain the growth. It was an inept attempt to cultivate for his own use.”

The judge presiding was similarly critical of Hughes’ hydroponic techniques, harshly telling the guy, “This was an incompetent grow from start to finish. You may have had high expectations and high ideas, but anyone who seeks to produce cannabis will risk a sentence of imprisonment. I am suspending it because of your early guilty plea, lack of previous convictions and incompetence.”

But putting up with a few courtroom tongue lashings was well worth it for Hughes. The judge gave him six months jail sentence suspended for two years and 100 hours unpaid work for his crime.