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Former Wick man tried to post cannabis plants to friend

By Court Reporter

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A severe arthritis sufferer began growing cannabis plants to help alleviate the pain for himself and a friend.

But when 66-year-old David West tried to post saplings of the drug from Caithness to a friend in Bishop Auckland, post office staff in a sub post office in Wick detected the suspicious smell and alerted police.

A search warrant was obtained for West's then home in the Old Mill, Stirkoke, Wick, in March 2019 and almost 100 plants were discovered.

Police also found 23 bags containing a total of 517 grams of cannabis. In total, the maximum street value of the drugs could have fetched up to £109,000.

But defence solicitor Marc Dickson told Sheriff Ian Cruickshank at Inverness Sheriff Court that there was no financial gain for his client.

He said: "He suffers from severe arthritis and lost his business as a result. He was on opiate-based medication for the condition but was concerned about this.

"He read press reports that cannabis may help and he began growing plants from seed.

"He was sending some of them to a friend in England who suffered from a similar condition. This offence demonstrates some naivety as it was quickly detected. He no longer uses cannabis."

Sheriff Cruickshank accepted the explanation on behalf of West who now lives at Cherry Tree Drive, School Aycliffe, County Durham.

He imposed a community payback order with 12 months supervision and fined West £750 because of his limited income and inability to undertake unpaid work.

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