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South Oxhey lorry driver, Dale Siberry, 'unaware' of £250k of cannabis growing in his garage
A South Oxhey lorry driver was unaware there was quarter of a million pounds of cannabis growing in his garage until just before police came to arrest him, a court heard.
Dale Siberry, 40, who was renting out the garage at the bottom of his garden, said he only spotted the 722 plants just before a police raid in November and had been waiting to confront his tenant.
During a hearing at St Albans Crown Court on Friday, prosecutor David Chrimes said that the cannabis crop would have a street value of around £250,000.
Siberry had been renting the garage to a man called Mark for six months for £100 a month, the court heard.
"There is no forensic evidence that links him to the garage and there is no evidence of him dealing or producing the drugs,” said Mr Chrimes.
“The Crown says he rented the garage out and allowed someone to use it to grow cannabis. He had some knowledge of what was going on.”
Sibbery of Gosforth Path, Watford pleaded guilty to being concerned in the production of cannabis.
Defence barrister Samantha Cohen said: "The crown and the police set out to disprove his defence that he did not know what was growing in his garage, but they were unable to do so. There was nothing found on his mobile phone to indicate drug dealing and nothing in his bank account.
"He looked in the garage when he saw that a hose had not been put away and saw the cannabis. He did nothing about it. He waited for Mark to confront him, but the police arrived."
She went on: "He is 40 years old and has never been in trouble before." He had worked for a recovery company associated with the police, but had lost his job on his arrest. Since then he found work as a lorry driver.
Recorder Jonathan Lee told him: "The number of plants means this is in a very serious category. You are of good character and no previous convictions and although the offence crosses the custody threshold it is right to be suspended."
He passed a four month sentence suspended for 12 months, ordered him to carry out 120 hours unpaid work over the next years. He must pay a victim surcharge of £80 and the £400 found by the police when they raided his home was confiscated.
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