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Man grew cannabis valued at £17,000 at Umberleigh home

PUBLISHED: 09:06 12 May 2014 | UPDATED: 09:06 12 May 2014

North Devon Magistrates Court, Barnstaple

North Devon Magistrates Court, Barnstaple

Archant

Magistrates order heavy fines for drug grower

AN Umberleigh man grew more than £17,000-worth of cannabis at his home, magistrates have heard.

Frederick Gordon Thomas, 49, of Railway Cottages Upside pleaded guilty to charges of producing and possessing cannabis at North Devon Magistrates’ Court on Friday.

Police officers executed a search warrant at Thomas’ home on March 30, and found a number of plants in his garage and shed.

Officers noticed a partition wall in the garage, behind which they found a ‘typical cannabis grow room’, comprising halogen lights and pot plants.

The ‘skunk bud head’ cannabis found was valued by experts at £17,200, with other, smaller quantities found in his house, although Thomas felt the value was closer to £5,000.

The court heard that Thomas had been smoking the drug since his 20s and had decided to grow his own supply as he couldn’t afford to keep buying from dealers.

As a self-employed builder, Thomas was able to construct the grow room himself.

The Crown was satisfied that the plants were for personal use and that Thomas had no intention of supplying to others.

Jen Law, for the defence, said Thomas accepted ‘full responsibility’ and had stopped smoking cannabis since his arrest.

Sitting magistrate Judith Kauntz said: “Clearly, this level of cannabis growing is very serious indeed and is not something the court takes lightly.”

Thomas was ordered to pay £700 in fines, costs and victim surcharge.

Mrs Kauntz also ordered the forfeiture and destruction of the drugs and growing equipment.

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