Slamannan resident jailed after letting others use home as £9600 cannabis farm

A Slamannan resident who allowed others to use his home as a cannabis farm has been jailed.

By Herald Reporter
Tuesday, 2nd February 2021, 4:45 pm
Updated Tuesday, 2nd February 2021, 4:55 pm

Stuart Ashe (28), of 30 Southfield Drive, agreed to let his flat be turned into a “sophisticated” space to run a drugs operation with an estimated value of £9600.

The haul of the class B substance was uncovered when the property was raided by police on July 9, 2019.

Ashe appeared at Falkirk Sheriff Court last Thursday having pleaded guilty to having in his possession a controlled drug, namely cannabis, at his home address between June 9 and July 9, 2019.

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Thirty-five cannabis plants were discovered within Stuart Ashe's home in Slamannan. Picture: Lisa Ferguson.

After receiving information indicating the premises was being used to cultivate cannabis, officers carried out a search.

Thirty-five plants, four of which were nearing maturity, were found inside, along with a “sophisticated system of lights, thermostats and heaters”.

Procurator fiscal depute Sean Maher said: “Within the rear bedroom a further cannabis cultivation was found in a small growing tent.

“Samples of the plants were taken and found to be cannabis. Items were seized from the property.”

Among the items taken were: lightbulbs, a water tank, light refractors, sheeting, thermometers, tents, a switch box, an air filter and a growing tray.

The fiscal depute continued: “The locus appears to have been taken over with a sophisticated set-up with the purpose of growing cannabis.

“The most mature plants are believed to have been around a month old. The value is believed to be £6600, however, the maximum potential wholesale value is believed to be £9600 had this been sold on.”

His defence solicitor said Ashe – a long-term cannabis user – gave others permission to use the flat “for the purpose of this enterprise”.

The solicitor told Sheriff Derek Hamilton: “He wasn’t going to profit from this at all. This was forced upon him by people.

“It’s consistent with the plea because he’s in possession, because it’s his house and he’s given permission for this enterprise to take place by others with the intent to supply.

“Mr Ashe was leaned upon to allow this enterprise. He doesn’t invite sympathy for it and knows the route of his own problems is his drug use.

“He’s a long way from being able to claim coercion. This debt is regarded as settled.

“He’s still using cannabis but has reduced his intake and wants to wean himself off it.”

The court was told Ashe has a previous summary conviction for a supply-related offence.

His solicitor said his client has been “subsisting on Universal Credit” and added: “He flatly denies he sold any cannabis – he tells me he doesn’t have the expertise to grow it.

“He recognises his stupidity to be used by others. He’s never been in prison before.”

Imprisoning Ashe for 23 months, Sheriff Hamilton said: “Clearly the supply of drugs is a serious issue.

“This was described as a sophisticated operation and it’s clear it seems to have extended over most of your property.

“There was a significant value involved here and potential for it to go up further. An operation such as this would normally warrant a custodial sentence.

“You have a previous conviction from three or four years ago so in your case there’s no alternative.”

Sheriff Hamilton also ordered forfeiture of the drugs and equipment.

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