Cancer scare excuse for cannabis turned out to be piles
A GLASTONBURY man who claimed he had only been growing two cannabis plants after a friend had recommended it when he had a cancer scare has been sent to prison for a total of six weeks.
David Anthony Burgess had a long history of drugs offences and was subject to a suspended prison sentence for similar offences imposed at Taunton Crown Court.
When he appeared before District Judge Lynne Matthews, sitting at Yeovil, she rejected his claims that he had only been growing the plants after a friend suggested it may help after he was worried he may be suffering from bowel cancer.
She told him that she had no doubt that he knew exactly what he was doing and had intended to grow the six inch high plants to full size.
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"It is said that you don't want to go back to prison, and in these circumstances it is difficult to understand why you would commit an offence while subject to a suspended sentence involving the same drug," she said.
"You have a consistent and persistent pattern of offending behaviour involving drug misuse and the only thing that prevented you from being successful in growing the plants was the fact that the police came in and took them away."
Burgess, aged 50, of Benedict Street, pleaded guilty to producing 0.08g of cannabis at Glastonbury on July 2.
He entered a plea on a basis that he had been in ill health at the time and someone had suggested that cannabis may help.
He later claimed he had changed his mind about growing the plants and then had decided to throw them away.
His cancer fears were later proved unfounded when he was diagnosed as suffering from piles.
Prosecutor Sanchia Pereira said that when police went to the defendant's home address they found two cannabis plants growing in a window.
"There was some lighting but it was not being used at the time and when the defendant was interviewed by police he claimed that he was in poor health and a friend had given him some seeds and suggested that cannabis may help," she said.
Defending solicitor Neil Priest said that when the police went to Burgess’s address they only found two small plants.
"There was only a tiny amount of cannabis involved and he does not want to go back to prison as he is not in a great frame of mind at the moment and is extremely anxious about these proceedings."
District Judge Matthews activated four weeks of the suspended prison sentence and sentenced him to a further two weeks in custody for the new offence, to run consecutively. No costs were imposed but an order was made for the cannabis to be destroyed.