Hydroponic crop hidden in fridge

AN INGENIOUS hydroponic set up found in a teenager's bedroom landed the first-time offender in Gympie Magistrates Court on a number of drug-related charges this week.

Trench Leslie Alen, 19, of Monkland, pleaded guilty to 11 charges on Monday after search of the renter's home on May 27 found an elaborate marijuana growing system in a converted fridge.

The court heard when police searched the Tyrell Rd residence, a locked bedroom with blacked out windows and "hot and humid" conditions revealed a fridge containing a number of trays of marijuana seedlings, planted from seed.

Extractor fans were fitted to the side of the fridge, the plants were irrigated by water pump and a light was mounted into a section cut from the freezer. Six pipes, three grinders, two cone pieces, a glass stem, 9.5 grams of hash oil , 7.4 grams of marijuana, a live round of ammunition and unprescribed Amitriptyline pills were also found at the home.

When questioned, Alen admitted to producing dangerous drugs on the premises and allowing house mates and visitors to both smoke and be supplied marijuana.

The defendant's lawyer Pat Horgan said the string of charges were "a wake-up call for Mr Alen" who began growing the drug in April to feed his own habit which was costing $200 every few days.

He said the young man had not used marijuana since his arrest and had now turned a corner since seeing a doctor for depression.

Police prosecutor Sergeant Jamie Baker said the offences were quite serious given the complexity of the growing system, his supply to friends and the allowance of his dwelling to support the drug.

Magistrate J. Schubert said a lack of criminal history was in the teen's favour and wished to allow the best chance for rehabilitation.

Alen was put on probation for 15 months, issued a six-month good behaviour bond with a recognisance of $1000 and ordered to attend drug diversion.

For breaching bail on June 20, the young offender was convicted but not further punished.

Gympie Times

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