999 call to report cannabis theft

Rotherham Magistrates Court, Main Street, Rotherham.
Rotherham Magistrates Court, Main Street, Rotherham.

A FORMER Aston man who dialled 999 to report that his cannabis plants had been stolen has been handed a suspended jail sentence.

Matthew John Warnes, 29, now of New Street in Catcliffe, was sentenced at Rotherham Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday.

The court heard police received a call from Warnes just after 1am on 10th July when he told them he had had to leave his home at Rosedale Close in Aston because of a break-in.

Mark Hughes, prosecuting, said: “During that phone call he admitted growing cannabis to the officers.”

When police arrived they found the damaged remains of hydroponic equipment used to grow the cannabis plants including filters, heat lamps and plant pots.

“The police found three cannabis plants still in their pots which ranged in size from 18cm to 42cm. He was arrested on suspicion of producing cannabis,” said Mr Hughes.

During interview, Warnes told police he had set up two lamps - although said only one of them was working - and had grown six small plants, three of which had been taken in the burglary.

He admitted spending £250 of money he got for Christmas on the equipment from Ebay and £2.50 each for eight seeds. He said he had no intention of selling the drug.

Louise Giblin, defending, said Warnes smoked cannabis to alleviate the symptoms of depression and that he was attempting to grow the drug for his own personal use.

“He bought the equipment from Ebay with his Christmas money so he could grow it himself because he was unable to fund buying the drug,” she said.

“He was growing it for his own use and this was his first attempt,” she added.

Sentencing him to 26 weeks in prison, suspended for 12 months, District Judge Jane Goodwin said: “The fact that you phoned police does not in any way mitigate what you did.”

Warnes was also ordered to complete 150 hours of unpaid work and pay £85 court costs.

Ms Goodwin ordered that the cannabis plants and associated growing paraphernalia be destroyed.