Home-grown cannabis may lead to jail terms for two men

A man who cultivated cannabis to the value of £10,000 for his own use was warned he could face prison when he appeared at Lerwick Sheriff Court today.

Richard Ball, 26, of Dalsetter Wynd, Dunrossness, admitted producing cannabis, a class B drug, at his home when police searched it on 11th June.

Procurator fiscal Duncan MacKenzie said 53 plants had been recovered, the results of a “fairly sophisticated” cultivation process. Ball had derived his expertise from the internet and built a chamber in his loft, having spent £600 on equipment, which has now been seized by police. Ball maintained he did not supply anyone and there was no evidence to suggest this.

Defence solicitor Tommy Allan said Ball, who was in the process of setting up his own business, had used cannabis for some time and decided to produce his own supply. He was not “out and about on the streets causing trouble”. He had got a shock when he had been caught and felt extremely ashamed and embarrassed for his family. He had co-operated with police and since then had referred himself to drugs service CADSS.

Sheriff Philip Mann deferred sentence for six weeks for reports, but told Ball a custodial sentence was still a possibility.

In a separate but similar case, 46-year-old Malcolm Stove from Veester Hill, Sandwick, admitted producing cannabis at his home for his personal use.

Police acting on information received obtained a search warrant and found 743 grammes of herbal cannabis already cultivated, valued at £5,307. There was no evidence of trafficking.

Defence solicitor Tommy Allan said Stove wanted to source his own supply of cannabis, which he used for health reasons. Mr Allan cited Stove’s health difficulties and said he “worked hard and stayed out of trouble”. A custodial sentence would do him harm, he said, and asked for an alternative, saying that Stove had now “absolutely” stopped taking drugs.

Sheriff Mann said that if Stove self-referred to CADSS he would continue the case for six weeks to get a report from them, but warned this did not mean he would escape custody. The case was deferred until 22nd August.


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