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Police alerted to Balintore drug producer by 'overwhelming' smell of cannabis from his caravan

By Court Reporter

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Police who called at a Balintore man’s home on a routine enquiry were greeted with an ‘overwhelming’ smell of cannabis, a court heard.

Officers later returned with a search warrant under the Misuse of Drugs Act and found 13 cannabis plants, seeds and growing paraphernalia in a caravan located on the town’s Main Street and occupied by 41-year-old Ewan Russell.

David Morton, procurator fiscal depute, told Tain Sheriff Court yesterday: “The locus is a caravan within the commercial area in the Main Street of Balintore.

Tain Sheriff Court.
Tain Sheriff Court.

“That is where Mr Russell resides and has resided alone for the past three years.

“On Sunday August 4, 2019, officers were carrying out house to house enquiries in the Balintore area and had cause to speak to Mr Russell.

“A strong smell of cannabis emanated from the caravan – the smell was described as ‘overwhelming’.”

Mr Morton said that when officers returned with the search warrant, Russell volunteered the information that he grew cannabis plants for his personal use.

The prosecutor continued: “There was a growing tent where four plants were uncovered and there was a further area in the bedroom where seeds were uncovered.

“Nine other cannabis plants were found, bringing the total of cannabis plants recovered from the property to 13.

“Mr Russell openly indicated to officers that he was a cannabis grower.”

The Crown made a motion for the forfeiture of all the items of equipment used in the production of drugs, including growing tent and what was described in the police report as ‘associated electrical equipment’.

Russell, who was not present at Monday’s court and did not have legal representation, had previously admitted producing a controlled drug at his home address.

Sheriff Gary Aitken imposed a £100 fine and agreed to the forfeiture motion.

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