Almost perfect pot operation

IT WAS a hydroponic set-up any criminal would envy.

That was the observation of Lismore Local Court magistrate Nick Reimer last Friday after looking at police photographs of cannabis plants grown by 42-year-old Tullera man Mark Andrew Cresswell.

A police search of Cresswell's rented property in March this year revealed a purpose-built room inside a metal-clad shed in which 44 mature cannabis plants were found growing in plastic pots.

The room was covered with white and black plastic. It also had growth lights with adjustable shades hanging from the ceiling, and fans to control temperature and humidity.

Nutrients and fertilisers were found in a nearby cupboard.

Under the house police found 3.94kg of wet cannabis heads hung across fishing line to dry.

They also found another growing room under the house with four more mature cannabis plants in pots.

Defence solicitor Paul Smart said Cresswell had no intention of selling the cannabis, instead it was to maintain his own habit, which at the time was nearly two ounces a week.

Mr Smart said Cresswell's habit started when he began using cannabis for pain management of injuries received in childhood and a motor vehicle accident and from arthritis.

“There was no cash found, no scales, no resealable plastic bags and no indication of monetary rewards from the selling of cannabis,” Mr Smart said.

“He is also a respected breeder of python snakes and spiders.”

Mr Reimer said there was nothing found by police to suggest Cresswell was growing the crop for anything other than personal use.

“The photos show a very sophisticated procedure. A lot of people who have come before court would have been more than pleased to achieve the results he has achieved. The quantity was enormous. A very successful operation,” he said.

Mr Reimer said that since being arrested Cresswell had stopped using cannabis and reports from the Magistrates Early Referral Into Treatment program were very favourable.

Cresswell received a two-year suspended sentence.

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