The husband of BNP city councillor Melanie Baddeley and his nephew have avoided being sent to prison after admitting growing cannabis in rooms concealed in a lock-up garage.
Four mature and 20 young plants were found by police executing a search warrant at the premises at the back of Park Avenue, Wolstanton. The street value of the potential yield of the drugs grown by Clifford Mark Baddeley and Simon Peters was estimated to be between £5,540 and £23,740.
Yesterday North Staffordshire Magistrates' Court heard that when officers went to the lock-up they noticed a strong smell of the Class B drug. Lynn Warrington, prosecuting, told the court: "During the search officers found a door inside the lock-up cleverly concealed behind a bookcase. When the door was opened they discovered three rooms, including a growing room and a drying room. Also there were fans, filters, plant food and transformers."
The premises had been used originally by Baddeley to fix washing machines to sell on, but that came to an end following a burglary there. Baddeley told police both he and Peters liked to smoke cannabis but had recently been receiving poor quality drugs. Both defendants told officers that they never intended to sell any of the drugs.
Baddeley, aged 49, of Holehouse Road, Abbey Hulton, and Peters, aged 36, of Aegean Close, Trentham, both pleaded guilty to producing four mature and 20 young plants between November 1 last year and January 21.
They were both given a 12-week prison sentence suspended for 12 months, with a six month curfew order from 9pm to 6am. Magistrates ordered the forfeiture and destruction of the plants and equipment and told each defendant to pay £85 costs.
Andrew Bennett, defending both men, said: "The defendants are uncle and nephew. They grew cannabis for their own use. Baddeley had arthritis, he could not work and used the drug for pain relief."
Mr Bennett said as a result of this matter and a previous conviction of cultivating cannabis in 2002 his client had now stopped taking cannabis and was being prescribed pain relief. Mr Bennett added: "He (Baddeley) said the case was of concern to him because his wife was a parliamentary candidate. Peters used the drug primarily as a relaxant. They both now wish to move on without it."
After the hearing Baddeley's wife, BNP city councillor Melanie - who contested the Stoke North seat - in the General Election, told The Sentinel she had no comment to make.