[h3]Father grew cannabis to help his son[/h3]
A FATHER grew so much cannabis for his son its smell filled a suburban street, York magistrates heard.
Stephen John Scrivener, 50, turned his garage into an illegal hothouse holding £2,500 worth of the drug in plant form, said Martin Butterworth, prosecuting.
When police arrived in Skewsby Grove, off Huntington Road, York, to raid his home, they could smell cannabis in the street before they knocked on his door. He told them all the cannabis was for his son and was not a commercial enterprise.
Harry Bayman, for the defence, explained why the law-abiding father turned drug producer. He said: "One of his sons has trouble with the law, trouble with mental health and he is desperately worried he will end in up prison. That is something he will find very very hard to manage. This is an attempt to defer that from coming."
Taxi driver Scrivener pleaded guilty to cultivating cannabis and was given a community order with 130 hours' unpaid work. He was also ordered to pay £43 prosecution costs. He had no previous convictions.
Mr Butterworth said police got a tip-off about Scrivener's illegal gardening and raided his home, a bungalow with a garage, at 1.15pm on January 15.
"When police officers arrived, they could actually smell cannabis in the street outside," said Mr Butterworth.
Inside the garage they found a secure area with 15 mature skunk cannabis plants and ventilation, heating and watering systems. Forensic scientists estimated each plant could produce 45 grams of skunk cannabis.
Mr Bayman said the equipment had cost £1,200 and Scrivener had learned how to make the set-up from a book "bought locally". He did not use cannabis himself.
The 50-year-old was a law-abiding middle class man who had always tried to do his best for his family. But the police raid had led to everyone in the house - four members of his family including himself - to be arrested, and he himself had spent eight hours in a police cell.
Apart from the house, he also maintained a second property for his son-in-law.
At an earlier hearing, York magistrates heard that his taxi licence had been suspended because of the court case.
4:19pm Monday 28th April 2008
By Megi Rychlikova