Police thought window climber who forgot keys was burglar and then sniffed out cannabis

ColeraineCourt9 - Edited

A man’s cannabis stash was uncovered in Kilrea after a passing police foot patrol thought he was a burglar because he was climbing in through the window of his home after he forgot to bring his keys whilst popping out to the shop.

Officers then went inside with Steven Patrick Montgomery (32), of Larchfield Gardens in Kilrea, and they sniffed out the drug.

They uncovered ten bags of herbal cannabis, two grinders and one plant in the property on September 8 this year.

The defendant appeared in the dock at Coleraine Magistrates Court on Monday which was told he made a full admission to charges of cultivating cannabis and possessing the Class B drug.

Defence solicitor John Murphy said his client had a record and had placed himself in difficulties with the court.

Mr Murphy said Montgomery had been living at a friend’s address in Kilrea and after going out to the shop the defendant realised he forgot his keys.

He was climbing in the window when police “thought he was a burglar” and when they were inside the property they smelt cannabis.

Mr Murphy said the cannabis plant was “a sorry excuse for a plant” and an “amateurish effort”.

He said the defendant had a “long-standing addiction” but has now started counselling.

The lawyer said his client had previously lived in England but had a “nomadic” lifestyle since returning to Northern Ireland.

District Judge Liam McNally said Montgomery had three previous convictions for drugs-related offences and he had previously given the defendant a chance to try and address his issues, without success.

The judge said he had given the defendant a Combination Order instead of sending him to jail and even when that was breached he had still not sent him to prison.

Judge McNally said Montgomery was back in front of him again for cultivating cannabis and possessing the drug and said on this occasion he was jailing him for six months.

The defendant was released on bail of £500 pending appeal.

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