A Banchory fisherman who claimed he was growing cannabis plants to use as fishing bait has been spared a “terrifying” prison sentence.
Trent Rudd was caught by police attempting to dispose of more than a dozen cannabis plants in his back garden after they paid a surprise to his home.
When quizzed by officers the 63-year-old insisted he had bought the seeds on eBay for innocent reasons and intended to use them to catch fish, not get high.
Police valued the plants at between £2,600 and £10,000.
Speaking to the Press and Journal about the case, Rudd said he had bought the seeds during the first lockdown and popped them into the soil out of “boredom”.
“I don’t smoke it and I knew it was a bit dodgy, but when the police came to the door I just panicked and pulled them out,” Rudd said.
“My partner had invited the police around to the back garden and that was it.”
Rudd pleaded guilty at Aberdeen Sheriff Court to one charge of producing a controlled drug and another charge of attempting to dispose of the cannabis plants by pulling them out of their pots before the police arrived.
It is understood anglers sometimes scatter hemp seeds around their hook bait in an effort to attract fish.
Rudd said: “I know nothing about gardening but I had a load of fishing tackle and had run out of plant seed so I bought a trial pack of these seeds off of eBay.
“It was a lovely summer at that time and I was really bored so I stuck a few seeds in the pot out of curiosity and boredom – and they sprouted!”
However, when police received an anonymous report of cannabis being smoked at an address on Old Mart Place, Aboyne, on June 24 2020 they went to investigate and caught Rudd removing the cannabis plants from pots.
Rudd, who was recently diagnosed with cancer, stated that he “can’t deny” growing the plants because he “did it”.
Real threat of jail term
Defence agent Charlie Benzies told the court that Rudd had bought the seeds off eBay for £2.49 but “made no commercial gain and was intending to use them as fish bait”.
He added that Rudd was due another operation for his cancer next month and had “never been in trouble before”.
“He accepts it was a stupid thing to do,” he added. “Background reports say it was curiosity. He made no financial gain. He had since lost his relationship as a result of this happening.”
Sheriff Ian Wallace said Rudd could only pay a limited fine, was unfit for unpaid work and had no previous convictions.
He handed Rudd, of Ilderton Place, Banchory, an 18-month supervision order as a direct alternative to custody.
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