A CANNABIS thief went along to a Home Office-sanctioned drug farm because he’d heard there was “field after field” of plants, magistrates were told.
Daniel Hannan happened to go along to the cannabis farm near Swindon, the location of which was not disclosed at Swindon Magistrates’ Court yesterday, on the same day as a larger group.
But 27-year-old Hannan maintained he had not been part of the bigger gang – telling JPs from the dock that he had gone along with one other friend.
Fining him £230, chairman of the bench Dean Suckling said: “We’ve listened very carefully to your defence and we believe it was opportunistic, you acted alone and you only took a small quantity.”
Prosecutor Ben Worthington earlier told the court that police were called to the Home Office-approved cannabis farm on August 16 last year after a number of men were seen around the facility.
“Because the police know what is there they’ve attended and found Mr Hannan was one of the people there,” the prosecutor said.
Daniel Hannan (left) outside Swindon Magistrates’ Court
On being stopped, he was found to have a part of a cannabis plant stashed in his pocket. Two small snap bags were found in his car, together containing 2g of cannabis.
Interviewed by police, he admitted going to the farm to have a look for himself after hearing talk of cannabis being grown there. Although he took the plant, he had no idea how to turn it into a form that he could smoke.
Hannan, of Dyrham Court, Blunsdon, admitted theft and possession of cannabis. He had no relevant previous convictions.
Representing himself, Hannan told the magistrates he had gone to “have a look” at the farm.
“I was at work and I heard from a friend there were fields upon fields of cannabis plants. I thought ‘who in their right mind would grow this in the middle of Swindon?’ I thought I’d have a look,” he said.
He had visited the farm with his friend, who had not been charged by the police, and was not part of “another group of lads” who were there at the same time.
Magistrates fined him £230 and ordered he pay £119 in costs and surcharge.
Last summer, police said they had arrested six men, aged 19 to 27, in connection with the activity at the cannabis farm on August 16.
At the time, a Wiltshire Police spokesman said: “It’s worth pointing out that these plants, which are legally produced under strict conditions, are a particular strain which cannot be used for recreational drug taking.”