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Dad found to be growing cannabis in his loft spared jail – North Wales Live

A man growing thousands of pounds worth of cannabis was given a chance by a judge to escape the “absolute low” point in his life. Alan Wilkie, of Kings Road in Ellesmere Port, appeared before a judge at Mold Crown Court having confessed to growing cannabis in his loft as well as abstracting electricity without authority.

Prosecutor Patrick Garland said that the 37-year-old’s home, where he lives with two of his children, was raided by the police on February 17, 2022. At first, he appeared to be cooperative with the police – even directing them to the 18 plants he had growing in his loft.

However, the court heard that he “destroyed” his mobile phone by snapping the motherboard of the device in two. This rendered it unusable by the police to gather evidence.

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Wilkie was arrested after the court heard that officers found evidence that the electric board in the semi-detached home – which was in the process of being renovated – had been bypassed. It had been done in a “dangerous” manner, said Mr Garland, which required the attention of Scottish Power engineers to rectify.

The judge heard that the grow had two sections – with nine saplings in each. A drugs expert believed the cannabis had a potential wholesale value of more than £5,000 but could have fetched just over £10,000 if they had been sold in deals at street value.

Whilst there was no evidence obtained to suggest Wilkie was dealing the Class B drug, the expert commented that the volume of the crop was “not consistent with personal use”. The defendant was said to have no previous convictions that relate to drugs either.

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Defending, Jamie Baxter, said this was a “modest set-up” constructed by a “one-man-band” as opposed to a wider criminal organisation in his client’s home that required limited sophistication, beyond the abstraction of electricity. He added that the dad continues to suffer with his mental health, as evidenced by doctors notes, and he thought drugs could be the answer to his problems but, in reality, they have made his situation “even worse”.

The court heard that there is another side to Mr Wilkie’s character. He was described in reference letters and reports as a hard-working family man that the probation service seemed as a “low risk of reoffending” with realistic prospects of rehabilitation in the community.

Judge Nicola Saffman suspended Wilkie’s six-month sentence for a year. She told him that he must complete a rehabilitation programme over 25 sessions and pay a statutory surcharge of £128.

The judge, wishing the defendant her support, said: “It seems Mr Wilkie you have reached an absolute low in your life and now there is only one way which you can go, that being rehabilitation to get your life on an even keel so that we will never see you before these courts again. You’re a hard-working man with significant mental health but you’re still turning up to work each day and raising two children on your own, so take all the support we offer you.”


This content was originally published here.