Woodhall Spa man spared jail after storing up to £140,000 of cannabis in his cottage

​A Woodhall Spa man who allowed his cottage to be used for storing cannabis worth up to £140,000 was spared jail after a court heard he was not involved in the drugs trade.
Lincoln Crown Court.Lincoln Crown Court.
Lincoln Crown Court.

​Sonny Gillespie, 31, was sentenced to 15 months imprisonment, suspended for 18 months, after Lincoln Crown Court heard today (Tuesday) that he was taken advantage of by a man called "Ron" who sometimes stayed at his property.

Phil Howes, prosecuting, said police were called to Oak Cottage in Green Lane by Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue after they responded to a E-scooter blaze on January 25 last year.

An unknown occupant was seen throwing cannabis onto the roof, the court was told.

Officers carried out a search of the property and found just over 13 kilos of cannabis which had been packaged into eleven vacuum bags and various buckets.

Mr Howes said investigations showed the property had been rented by Gillespie since 2011.

A drugs expert estimated the wholesale value of the cannabis at between £75,000 and £80,000. The street value was estimated at £140,000.

Gillespie attended a voluntary police interview and provided officers with a prepared statement which said he had no involvement in the drugs trade.

In the statement Gillespie said he had never been involved in producing or selling the cannabis which belonged to a man called "Ron" who sometimes stayed at the property.

Gillespie said he found the cannabis after being away from the property and felt under pressure from Ron.

He also provided the police with a false identity document which belonged to Ron.

Police examination of a phone and laptop computer belonging to Gillespie confirmed there was no evidence of drug dealing on his devices.

Forensic tests also confirmed the cannabis had been grown away from the cottage and no fingerprints were found which matched Gillespie.

Gillespie pleaded guilty to possessing cannabis with intent to supply others.

In mitigation the court heard Gillespie was in regular employment with a construction company and helped to look after his mother.

Passing sentence Judge James House KC said Gillespie had pleaded guilty on a basis that he was not involved in drugs and had been taken advantage of by the man called Ron.

Gillespie was sentenced to 15 months imprisonment suspended for 18 months. He must also complete 150 hours of unpaid work in the community and 30 rehabilitation activity requirement days.