Chepstow man with a drugs farm at home is spared jail
4:30pm Friday 9th August 2013 in News
A CHEPSTOW man escaped being sent to prison after a cannabis farm containing £22,000 worth of the drug was found at his rented accommodation.
In what a Recorder called an odd case,damage amounting to £26,000 was caused to the property on Alpha Road, Bulwark, after holes were made in the walls, a boiler ripped out and electrics ruined.
During a trial last week, Ian Varley, 37, of St George Road denied being concerned in the supply of cannabis and criminal damage.
This was despite police officers being called to Alpha Road in the early hours of July 21, with Varley telling them: “Listen I need to tell you as I can’t take it any more.
“I’ve got a load of cannabis in the house.”
PC Kelly Andrews told the trial that she had found Varley bare-chested, intoxicated, with blood on him and cut forearms.
He confessed to her, before saying there were “men with knives and guns” there, adding “the Taliban are involved and you are all dead”.
Despite these claims, he denied the offences, with the matter going to trial. But, on the second day, he changed his plea to guilty.
At Cardiff Crown Court, defence barrister Stephen Thomas said that Varley pleaded guilty on the basis that he had handed his house over for other people to grow cannabis there so they would release him from a drug debt.
Mr Thomas said he agreed to “keep an eye” on the plants, adding: “He accepts it wouldn’t have got off the ground if he didn’t hand over his premises.
It was naiveity, he didn’t understand the gravity or seriousness of the operation.”
Recorder Timothy Brennan QC described the “odd way the matter came to light” and how Varley “oddly persisted in pleading not guilty”.
Recorder Brennan said Varley played a “significant role” in the growing of 100 plants, but “a lesser one than those directly involved”.
He suspended a two year sentence for 18 months. A 12 month sentence for criminal damage was suspended for 18 months. He said he was unable to award compensation.