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Dealer with £40k cannabis stash had no bus fare to get home from court

A drug dealer caught with a £40,000 cannabis stash claimed he did not have the bus fare to get home from court before being sentenced.

Shane Meachen set up a lucrative marijuana farm at his home in Quinton which was busted when firearms police executed a warrant in 2019.

Then a year later he was arrested for drink-driving, failing to stop and having a machete in his car among other offences.

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The 47-year-old appeared at Birmingham Crown Court on August 25 to be sentenced and could be heard mumbling throughout the hearing – including saying he could not afford money for a bus ticket to get home.

Having admitted nine various offences it appeared optimistic he would be leaving court at all that day. However, Judge Roderick Henderson suspended a two-year jail term for 21 months after he concluded Meachen required help and support, particularly to tackle a drink problem.

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When his home in Hagley Road West was raided police found 33 cannabis plants, worth between £10,000 and £33,000, in an upstairs bedroom. A further six plants with an estimated value of £5,500 to £6,500 were recovered from a bin liner and more than £1,000 worth of cannabis resin was discovered in a kitchen cupboard.

Several bags of amphetamines were also found.

Prosecutor Elizabeth Power stated when Meachen was arrested he accepted responsibility for the cannabis farm but initially claimed it was merely for ‘personal use’.

Then on March 6 last year police in an unmarked car witnessed him driving a Nissan at around 78mph on a 40mph road near his home. A 20-minute pursuit followed as Meachen sped away from the officers who reached 100mph just to keep up with him.

When he was finally stopped a flick-knife with a three-inch blade fell out of his pocked and a machete was found inside the car. A road-side breath test confirmed he was significantly over the drink-drive limit.

Ms Power said: “He made full admissions and cooperated fully. He said he panicked when he saw officers illuminate their lights and sirens, and that ongoing grief had affected his state of mind.

“He admitted he had been drinking, he said he had a pint or two. He admitted his speed was unacceptable.”

Police have urged people not to leave windows open while they leave the house in the hot weather

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Meachen pleaded guilty to producing cannabis, possession with intent to supply cannabis and possession of a controlled drug in relation to the 2019 raid. He also confessed to failure to stop, dangerous driving, drink driving, driving without insurance and two counts of possession of a bladed article in public.

His full mitigation was not aired in court but Judge Henderson acknowledged he had ‘medical difficulties’, while in a conversation with his barrister he said: “Sadly help maybe beyond him but he needs help doesn’t he.”

He also took into account the fact he had not re-offended in a year as well as some previous time spent in custody counting towards his sentence.

Judge Henderson added: “The reality is if I imposed an immediate custodial sentence you would go back for a short time and then be released but you wouldn’t have as much support as the order I’m going to pass.”

Meachen must complete an alcohol treatment programme and 20 days of rehabilitation activity.

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