High in the rooftops

RODNEY Abbey's Ocean Shores home had almost 400 cannabis plants growing in its roof cavity when police raided it.

Yesterday Magistrate Annette Sinclair rejected a bid by Abbey, 42, who has been in custody since his arrest 10 days ago, to be released on bail.

Defence solicitor Ralph James told the court Abbey offered everything he owned as surety, which totalled $200,000.

“He is respected by friends and neighbours, and he has contributed to the community through the Rural Fire Service,” he said.

“He has a stable relationship and has lived in the same house for 14 years.”

Police said the 392 plants ranged in height from 15cm to 1.5 metres and were found growing in a sophisticated hydroponic set-up inside the roof.

Also found were 510 grams of cannabis leaf and seeds.

During the search of the Jumbunna Place property police discovered power cables running from a fish tank into a closet and then into the roof.

The cables bypassed the main power supply and into an elaborate set-up of transformers, powerboards and lamps to help the crop grow.

During the search Country Energy technicians were called in to shut off the power to reduce the risk of police being electrocuted.

In the same closet police found a home-made remote controlled goods lift leading into the roof.

Abbey is charged with possessing a prohibited drug, supplying an indictable quantity of a prohibited drug, using electricity without authority, and with enhanced indoor cultivation of a prohibited plant for commercial purposes. He has not entered any plea.

Magistrate Annette Sinclair denied Abbey bail and said there was a degree of sophistication in the set-up and how it was secreted.

“The arrangement has been well thought out,” she said.

Ms Sinclair said having 392 plants in the roof and the sophisticated set-up meant the crop was intended for commercial purposes.

The case was adjourned to October 7.

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