Exmouth pensioner’s accidental cannabis plant

PUBLISHED: 12:19 22 September 2014 | UPDATED: 12:19 22 September 2014

Patricia Hewitson and the cannabis plant accidentally grown from bird seed.

Patricia Hewitson and the cannabis plant accidentally grown from bird seed.


Police were notified after an Exmouth pensioner accidentally grew a 1.5m cannabis plant after fallen bird seed from a feeder in her garden sprouted.

The chopped-up cannabis plantThe chopped-up cannabis plant

A pensioner from Exmouth has accidentally grown a 5ft tall cannabis plant from bird seed.

Patricia Hewitson, from Exmouth, contacted BBC Radio Devon’s gardening programme asking for help identifying the plant, which had been growing since June.

The police were notified after the mystery weed was found to be an illegal cannabis plant.

Devon and Cornwall police said Mrs Hewitson was growing the plant illegally but in good faith.

Mrs Hewitson said: “I sent a picture in via email and I got a couple of interesting emails back, including one from the police.

“They said they wouldn’t prosecute me as I’d done it in good faith.”

BBC Radio Devon’s gardening expert, Sarah Chesters, said: “I think the seed of this came from the bird feeder which hangs just above their door.

“It’s quite common for bird seed to contain a huge variety of plant seed and cannabis has been known to come up from it.”

Mrs Hewitson and her husband, John, were advised by Devon and Cornwall Police about what to do with the specimen because cannabis is illegal to grow without a licence so

“We’ve been told we have to cut it up and either compost it, take it to the police station or take it up to the local recycling centre,” said Mrs Hewitson.

Sergeant Ryan Canning, from Devon and Cornwall Police, said: “If you come into possession of an illegal drug such as cannabis, you must either destroy it or take it to a police officer.

“The lady has committed an offence although there are mitigating circumstances so we would not look to take it further although we would take it away.”

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