FENLAND: Pensioner, 70, to be sentenced at Cambridge Crown Court for growing cannabis at his home

WHILE most pensioners grow vegetables in their gardens, 70-year-old Ernest Norris grew strong skunk cannabis in his greenhouse, sauna and swimming pool room. Police raided the grandfather s home – called Costalot – and discovered illegal drugs with a pote

WHILE most pensioners grow vegetables in their gardens, 70-year-old Ernest Norris grew strong skunk cannabis in his greenhouse, sauna and swimming pool room.

Police raided the grandfather's home - called Costalot - and discovered illegal drugs with a potential value of more than �20,000 being grown there: they also found specially adapted bullets in a safe.

Appearing before Fenland magistrates on Tuesday, Norris, of Hassock Hill Drove, admitted producing cannabis, and being in possession of nine rounds of 0.22 calibre hollow tipped bullets designed to expand on impact.

"The cannabis plants were in various stages of growth," said prosecutor Scheherazade Haque. "If all the plants had been allowed to grow to maturity they would have produced 3.84Kgs of skunk cannabis, with a street value of �21,657."


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Asking the magistrates to send the case to Cambridge Crown Court for sentencing, Ms Haque added: "It is not accepted the drugs were grown for personal use. It is possible for three or four harvests to be made each year, the sheer volume of the drugs takes this case beyond your sentencing power."

Henry Day, in mitigation, said 40 plants were found at Norris' home on September 10 last year, and the six plants found flowering in the greenhouse had a value of around �2,000.

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"The rest of the plants were immature or root cuttings, many were found in the sauna and swimming pool room," he added. "The suggestion that they would have produced �20,000 worth of cannabis is not substantiated.

"The police statement says the right growing conditions would have been needed, but many of them were in the sauna room, there was no hydroponics system, and nothing to suggest the plants had ever flowered."

Mr Day said Norris had put the bullets in the safe "out of harm's way," because he did not want his grandchildren to find them.

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