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Drugs-charge crash pilot denies intention to supply

The scene of the plane crash. Picture: Mike Mahoney
The scene of the plane crash. Picture: Mike Mahoney
Sid Clarke
Sid Clarke

A pilot who after crashing his plane was found to be growing a crop of cannabis plants has denied it was for commercial supply.

Sidney Clark will now have to call evidence to back up his claim.

The 48-year-old escaped serious injury after crashing his light aircraft at Farthing Common, near Hythe, in February last year.

Police then went to his home in Tonbridge Road, Barming, and discovered he was cultivating 400 cannabis plants.

Jo Cope, prosecuting, said Clark, now of Westmead Crescent, Trowbridge, Wiltshire, had no apparent legitimate income and had bought a number of items for cash.

"He was not employed at the time and he never claimed benefit," said Mrs Cope. "The matter came to light when he crashed his light aircraft, which he paid cash for."

Clark admitted cultivating cannabis, abstracting electricity and possessing the drug.

Sandesh Singh, defending, said Clark did not accept the cannabis was for supply in the wider community. It would, no doubt, make a substantial difference to sentence, he said.

Clark had made it clear that he and friends took turns in growing the drug, "the main point being it was not a profitable venture".

The judge said his preliminary view was that it was "plainly commercial", but a hearing would be held on February 6 to determine the issue.

The prosecutor said Clark had previous convictions for drug offences, both in this country and Japan. He had failed to attend court on August 19 last year and did not appear until December 15.

Judge Charles Macdonald, QC, released Clark on bail on condition of residence in Trowbridge and daily reporting to police.

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