A Maughold commissioner has spoken of his astonishment after he discovered a large number of cannabis plants being cultivated in a disused quarry inthe parish.
The retired detective inspector has complained to the Attorney General’s Chambers after a man detained in connection with the find received only a caution.
Mark Cowley, of Glen Mona, said he noticed a man ‘acting suspiciously’ around a disused quarry on the main A2 road in the Dhoon area.
Mr Cowley and another resident – an off-duty police officer – went to inspect.
‘We thought it was people after the eggs of nesting birds of prey, which has happened in the past there,’ he said.
The man ran off, and during a subsequent search of the quarry the pair made an unexpected discovery.
‘We found a large cultivation of cannabis. On the top of a little plateau was in excess of 50 or 60 plants, some of which were four feet high and mature,’ said Mr Cowley, adding that in addition he found two cultivation propagators with ‘a large number of plants at various stages of growth’.
‘It was a determined effort, there were bags full of stripped cannabis leaves. To get to the top you have to really climb. It was quite an industrial spot,’ he recalled.
‘You can imagine my surprise. Dumbfounded is the word. Little cultivations have been found in various places around the island, but not out in the open like this. It looked like a jungle.’
Mr Cowley said police arrived and he was later informed that a man ‘who was responsible for the cultivation’ was detained near to the scene later that evening.
‘I’ve not seen a cannabis cultivation quite like it in my career in the Isle of Man. From my experience, this guy was in no doubt growing it with intent to supply, which is serious,’ he said.
As a member of the local authority and interested party, Mr Cowley asked to be kept up to date with the outcome of the case, and said the police officially confirmed to him that ‘the offender was cautioned over this incident on the advice given by the Attorney General’s Chambers’.
‘In my opinion, based on the quantity of cannabis plants present, that a charge of possession with intent to supply should have been brought,’ he said. ‘However, this offender gets a caution, and released. The police informed me that they were satisfied that all the evidence and facts were put to the Attorney General’s representative with a view to a decision on how to proceed. It was the Attorney General’s representative that advised the police to caution in these circumstances, and so that is what they did.
‘Here we have a criminal growing an illegal Class C drug on a large scale, who after he is arrested and processed, is cautioned and that is the end of the matter. How can the public be confident when such decisions are made?
‘I have now written to the Attorney General’s Chambers with my complaint, and await their reply.’
The Attorney General’s Chambers told iomtoday.co.im: ‘As with all matters brought to the attention of the Attorney General’s Chambers, the advice in this particular case was provided after careful consideration of all the facts that were presented at the time by the Isle of Man Constabulary.
‘Correspondence has been received from a member of the public and a response will be issued in due course.’