Smell was the giveaway for cannabis grower

Court news.
Court news.

A first-time cannabis grower made a ‘fundamental’ mistake when he failed take steps to contain the smell from his garage as he grew his own personal crop.

Michael David Rate, 29, of Florin Drive, Boston, appeared at Boston Magistrates’ Court on Thursday, pleading guilty to the production of 16 plants of cannabis.

Prosecutor Paul Woods said police were called to Rate’s house after neighbours reported smelling cannabis.

He said that when officers arrived they also could smell it and approached Rate, who ‘figured the game was up’ and admitted producing the plants.

He said police found 16 ‘mature’ plants in Rate’s house along with equipment such as timers and water butts.

Mr Woods said Rates admitted investing £1,000 in the equipment and he told police he was a user and was trying to produce it for his own use.

Mr Woods also questioned the ‘relatively large’ amount of plants and said there was a lot for someone to go through before the plants died.

Defending, Dav Naghen argued the plants were for Rate’s own use, saying two of the plants were already dying and adding that the fact all the plants were the same maturity rather than some small, medium and mature, indicated it wasn’t for sale.

He said Rate worked in construction in London during the week and had started smoking cannabis in the evenings when he had nothing to do except wait for the next day’s work.

He said he had decided to grow his own to save costs, and had used water butts and timers because he didn’t want to get his partner involved - going so far as to partition his garage.

Mr Naghen said: “He’s made a fundamental error in that he’s not thought how to contain the smell. People smelled it and neighbours called police.”

Rate, who has a partner and two children, also had two references read out from his employer and friend, who said he had ‘never let them down’ and praised his time management. They said it would be a ‘great loss if he were unable to work for us’.

Mr Naghen added Rate had since given up cannabis - going cold turkey after he was found out.

Magistrates ordered Rate to pay a £1,000 fine, £100 victim surcharge and £85 costs. They also ordered the forfeiture and destruction of drugs.