Grandparents had drug factory with cannabis worth £50,000 in shed

Grandparents were found with a drug factory inside a shed at their Cardiff home where they had grown 50 cannabis plants worth up to £52,000.

Married couple Robert and Stephanie Watson, both 55, were visited by police at their home in Coed Cochwyn Avenue, Llanishen, on October 27 last year after neighbours complained about an ongoing domestic incident.

When police searched the property they found cannabis hanging to dry in a bedroom and a chest of drawers full of cannabis buds.

The couple told police the cannabis was for their own personal use and they would smoke around one to two joints a night.

A sentencing hearing at Cardiff Crown Court on Wednesday heard Robert Watson was intoxicated when police attended his home at around 1.10am but he was calm.

Prosecutor William Bebb said officers searched the property and discovered a number of cannabis stems hanging on string in a back bedroom with a fan blowing in the opposite direction.

Cannabis plants were found at the home of Robert and Stephanie Watson in Llanishen, Cardiff

More cannabis was found in plastic tubs on a windowsill and shelf and cannabis buds were found in a chest of drawers.

Robert Watson was arrested on suspicion of possession of cannabis and officers proceeded to search two sheds in the garden.

One was found to contain hydroponic equipment but the second shed contained 50 cannabis plants in total with fans and lighting set up.

Stephanie Watson returned to the house from her daughter’s home at 2am and was also arrested.

The cannabis was seized by police and analysed. In total there was between 1.4kg and 4.2kg which had a street value of between £17,500 and £52,500, the court heard.

The couple were interviewed with Robert Watson telling police he grew his own cannabis so he wouldn’t have to go to drug dealers. Stephanie Watson admitted watering the plants and claimed she and her husband would smoke one or two cannabis joints a night.

Both later pleaded guilty to producing a controlled drug of Class B.

The drugs had a street value stretching to tens of thousands of pounds
The drugs had a street value stretching to tens of thousands of pounds

Robert Watson was noted to have previous convictions including one for production of cannabis in 2012 when officers attended his home over a domestic incident and found a cannabis factory in his shed. Stephanie Watson was of previous good character.

Defence barrister Ruth Smith said her clients had a difficult 12 months after Robert Watson injured his eye and the couple’s daughter had been a victim of domestic violence which left the couple feeling distraught. She said their use of cannabis had been an “emotional crutch”.

Sentencing, Judge Daniel Williams said: “Police attended at your home in Llanishen and in a rear bedroom they found cannabis was drying and on further examination they found equipment as well as 50 plants with a significant potential yield.”

Robert Watson was sentenced to 10 months imprisonment suspended for 18 months and was ordered to carry out a 15-day rehabilitation activity requirement and 160 hours of unpaid work.

Stephanie Watson was sentenced to a 12-month community order and ordered to carry out 80 hours of unpaid work.

Both defendants were ordered to pay £210 towards court costs.

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