Benjamin John Price, 44, of Maryborough West, leaves Hervey Bay District Court.
Benjamin John Price, 44, of Maryborough West, leaves Hervey Bay District Court. Annie Perets

Rigger grew marijuana at home during unemployment stint

A RIGGER who turned pot grower during an unemployment spell used a make-shift greenhouse in his backyard to harvest the drug.

Benjamin John Price, 44, turned to growing marijuana plants from October last year but fell afoul of the law when police uncovered his crop.

The Maryborough West man pleaded guilty in Hervey Bay District Court on Friday to producing and possessing more than 500g of marijuana, and other charges.

The court heard officers searched his home in March and found 34 "mature and well established" plants along with 534g of dried marijuana.

The make-shift greenhouse was set up next to an outside shed in the yard.

Crown Prosecutor Katrina Overell said the loose marijuana leaves were sorted into 23 clip-seal bags, located in a spare bedroom of the house.

Though describing the drug quantity to be "high", Ms Overell told the court the marijuana was not grown for a commercial purpose.

Benjamin John Price, 44, of Maryborough West, leaves Hervey Bay District Court.
Benjamin John Price, 44, of Maryborough West, leaves Hervey Bay District Court. Annie Perets

Price also gained the attention of police after an evening of heavy drinking.

Walking home while intoxicated on February 24, Price made a detour to a local Ergon substation where he broke a number of padlocks, and stole a fridge and extension leads.

Defence lawyer Travis George said Price had gone off drugs since his pot patch was discovered, testing negative to drugs six weeks after the police raid.

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He said Price currently works 21 of every 28 days as a rigger in northern Queensland, and is regularly drug tested on site.

"The charges were a wake-up call for him," Mr George said.

Price was sentenced to six-months imprisonment, wholly suspended for two years, for all offences.



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