THE son of a leading councillor risks jail for growing cannabis in his mum and dad's old greenhouse, magistrates told him.
Richard Shane Apperley's 28 cannabis plants at his parents' home in Longridge, Sheepscombe, prompted a police search, which also netted two CS gas canisters belonging to his dad, Councillor Ray Apperley. He accepted a formal caution for firearm possession, and resigned from a top Stroud District Council position following the matter.
Yesterday Richard Apperley, 35, pleaded guilty to growing cannabis for personal use and to possession of the drug, before Stroud magistrates. The bench ordered an “all options” probation report before he is sentenced next week.
“We are considering custody at this stage, although the final sentencing decision will be for the bench then,” said bench chairman, Sue Alexander.
Graham Dono, prosecuting, said police searched the home near Stroud on August 19.
“They found 28 cannabis plants growing in a greenhouse on the property,” he said. “Herbal cannabis and resin weighing 195g was recovered from the defendant's bedroom. He made a full and frank admission to both charges and said it was for his own use. The potential yield from the plants was 280g.”
Mr Dono said there was no indication of a value, but John Search, defending, said the police had talked of £1,500-worth at one point – a figure he questioned.
“To suggest you would get a yield of Lord-knows-what is plum ridiculous,” said Mr Search, who earlier told the bench the plants were not in grow bags but spent soil in a “somewhat derelict” greenhouse. Mr Dono said the Crown accepted there was no intent to supply.
Richard Apperley told the bench his parents had “no knowledge” of the cannabis found by police.
Councillor Apperley (Conservative, The Stanleys), resigned the vice chairmanship of the council and his seat on the county's health, community and care overview and scrutiny committee after news of his arrest and caution broke. His wife Linda was also arrested, and released without charge.
He told The Citizen last month he bought the CS canisters for personal protection in Poland and brought them in to the UK not realising they were classed as an illegal firearm in this country.
Richard Apperley will be sentenced at Cheltenham Magistrates Court on December 12, at 2pm.