999 call to report stolen cannabis

AN ASTON man who dialled 999 to report that his cannabis plants had been stolen has admitted growing the drug.

Matthew John Warnes, 29, of Rosedale Close in Aston appeared at Rotherham Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday.

The court heard that police received a call from Warnes at around 1.05am on 10th July when he told them he had had to leave his home because of a break-in.

He also told officers that he had been growing cannabis at the address and that the break in was related to drugs.

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 court heard that officers also found three small cannabis plants still in their pots.

The largest plant was just one and a half feet high.

During interview, Warnes told police he had set up two lamps - although 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 on the equipment and £2.50 each for eight seeds.

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 has spoken to his doctor about the matter. He is awaiting a referral for counselling and accepts that using cannabis is not an appropriate way to deal with his depression,” she said.

“He was the one that called the police because his friend was in the house with him when the break in happened.”

“He called police knowing that they would discover what was in his house,” she added.

District Judge Jane Goodwin said Warnes had a history of cannabis use going back to 2001, before he began suffering with depression.

“He went out and spent £250 on this equipment. He knew what he was doing,” she told the court.

“He was forced to call the police because he had been burgled and he was burgled because he was growing drugs.”

Ms Goodwin adjourned the case for three weeks for a pre-sentence report to be prepared by the Probation Service.

Warnes was released on unconditional bail to reappear at Rotherham Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday 4th December when he will be sentenced.

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