Dad banned from entering his own garden shed in first court order of its kind
Simon Redclift says he is preparing to say goodbye to his garden shed after a judge banned the married man from going inside
A man has been banned from going into his own garden shed in what may be the first court order of its kind.
Simon Redclift was warned he would be in breach of bail conditions if he enters the custom-built shed at the bottom of his garden.
Mr Redclift said he was now preparing to say goodbye to the shed, which had been “a room for all the family” for 14 years.
The married father had repeatedly used the shed to grow cannabis and has five convictions for cultivating the drug.
He pleaded guilty to producing cannabis and possessing it with intent to supply following the latest police raid on his home and garden on August 23.
Judge David Wynn Morgan told Mr Reclift he is considering whether he can order the shed to be removed from his garden.
He told Mr Redclift he was giving his lawyers seven days “to consider reasons why it should not be dismantled and taken away”.
He also said that if he did decide against a confiscation order he would consider placing a restraining order on Mr Redclift, preventing him from ever going inside it again.
He cannot go inside it while he is on bail.
Speaking after his latest appearance at Cardiff Crown Court, Mr Redclift, 53, of Sir Ivor Place, Dinas Powys, said it would be difficult to say goodbye to the timber-crafted shed.
“It’s been a room for all the family over the years. It was not just a shed that I put up and adapted to put cannabis in,” he said.
He said he enjoyed nothing more than relaxing in the shed and working on decorative wood or watching David Attenborough’s The Blue Planet on DVD – while smoking cannabis.
On the potential forfeiture of the shed, he said: “I don’t really see what it proves. If I wanted to continue growing I could do it in my attic, I could do it in the back garden, I could do it in a cupboard – it’s just a waste of my shed.”
Mr Redclift and friends have now started dismantling the £800 shed, which was originally built by a carpenter friend as extra space at the rear of his family’s three-bedroom home.
Teetotal Mr Redclift said it became his “second living room” when his wife gave up smoking, meaning he could no longer do so indoors. He also had a log-burner and television in there.
“If I can’t find a taker it’s going to be burnt – it’s a shame,” he said.
Mr Redclift, who is unemployed, said he smoked cannabis to deal with acute panic attacks, which developed after he spent three months in prison in Cardiff in 1990 for stealing from his employer.
“I suffer from anxiety and it keeps me at a level of calm through most of the day,” he said.
“If not, I have to take a lot more of the Valium the doctor otherwise prescribes me.”
He has previously been convicted of growing cannabis at his home in 2004, 2008, 2010 and 2011.
When he was arrested last year, the court heard he told police he used it medicinally because he “wasn’t a well man”.
Police said the yield from the plants found could have been worth up to £20,000, but Mr Redclift’s defence barrister, Hywel Hughes, told the court he was not motivated by money.
The antique marble collector, described in court as a “model father”, said of his ban: “If it satisfies the judge, it’s something that I’m prepared to do. I’m not going to cultivate again.”
Crown prosecutor Tony Trigg said five mature and 32 immature plants were growing in the shed, with the smell getting stronger and stronger as police approached and opened the door.
But Mr Hughes told the court the shed, which had been adapted for cannabis cultivation, had recently been turned back into a simple garden shed.
He handed the judge pictures showing how it was put to use by other members of Mr Redclift’s family.
He said Mr Redclift had rid himself of his long-term cannabis habit, which was confirmed in a letter by his ‘long-suffering’ wife.
Adjourning proceedings for seven days, Judge Wynn Morgan told Redclift: “I’m not impressed with the attitude you adopt towards the courts, the probation service and offending.
“It’s one thing to say you enjoy smoking cannabis but another to say I’m going to go on doing it because I do not agree with the law.”