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You sent drugs to defence minister

Gareth Hughes, The Daily Post, 28th January 2006

A CANNABIS campaigner appeared in court yesterday charged with sending drugs to defence minister John Reid.

Jeffrey Ditchfield, 45, was arrested on Wednesday after police raided his Rhyl cannabis café, Beggar's Belief.

Prestatyn magistrates were told a small but sophisticated hydroponics plant was found in a room concealed behind a bookcase.

Gareth Preston, prosecuting, told the court the offences were allegedly committed while the 45-year-old was on bail for charges involving the cultivation and supply of cannabis in the Rhyl and Cheltenham areas.

Yesterday Ditchfield was charged with trying to supply a cannabis plant to defence minister Mr Reid at his Whitehall office between October 30 and November 2, attempting to supply the drug to a Laurence Brierley, possessing cannabis, producing herbal cannabis and cultivating cannabis.

At his request reporting restrictions were lifted.

Mr Preston told the court that the police were alerted after a Royal Mail employee complained about the smell from a parcel the defendant posted to Mr Brierley.

It was found to contain reefers. The plant sent to Mr Reid was accompanied by a letter signed by Ditchfield backing a campaign for the drug to be legalised.

Mr Preston said when police raided Ditchfield's Beggars Belief café in Water Street early on Wednesday they found 12 cannabis plants growing in a third-floor room.

"He accepts responsibility for that," he told the court.

Opposing an application for bail, Mr Preston said: "The real concern of the crown is that the defendant has shown a complete and utter disregard for the bail conditions and he has shown a belligerent attitude towards the criminal justice system."

Jim Humphrys , defending, told the bench Ditchfield only supplied cannabis for medicinal purposes and never made a penny out of it, even though police seized £3,560 from his home.
Mr Brierley, he said, had both legs amputated and cannabis was his only relief.

"He sent a cannabis plant to every member of the government and received an acknowledgement from most of them, some in sympathetic terms," said Mr Humphrys.

Ditchfield was remanded in custody until today when he is due to appear at Prestatyn again for legal arguments relating to the other alleged offences.

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