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Judge raps man over shed ban story

A father banned from a garden shed he transformed into a drug factory has been rapped by a judge for flouting his authority in a newspaper.

Simon Redclift posed for pictures in a T-shirt depicting a hazy-eyed cartoon character smoking a giant spliff within hours of leaving court last week.

The teetotaler, of Dinas Powys, south Wales, was released on bail on the condition that he did not set foot inside his £800 shed.

Judge David Wynn Morgan, sitting at Cardiff Crown Court, warned that he was looking at making an order for the shed's demolition. Redclift, who has convictions for possessing cannabis, stealing cars, wounding and assaulting a police officer, was also facing jail.

He had previously admitted charges of producing cannabis and possession of up to £20,000 of the drug with intent to supply. But the judge saw red when a relaxed Redclift, 53, was back before him for sentencing after a glowing report from his barrister.

Redclift and a friend had voluntarily torn down and burned the offending shed, Hywel Hughes, defending, told the judge. It had happened because Redclift was "alive to the thinking of the court on this particular matter," he said.

Its destruction had broken Redclift's link between producing and smoking cannabis which had occupied so much of his life. "That life-style has been broken and he has now reintegrated with his family. He has also abandoned the use, or misuse, of cannabis - something he had done his whole life."

Judge Morgan said that in that case some might see Redclift's decision to give the South Wales Echo a pre-sentence interview as "foolhardy." As he spoke the judge appeared to have a copy of the newspaper he referred to, and went on to read out the headline: "Judge Won't Let Me in My Shed." He said it carried photographs of Redclift standing by his shed "Wearing a T-shirt in which a cartoon character is clearly seen smoking a spliff."

He also jailed Redclift for 32 weeks, suspended for two years, and warned that the sentence would be activated if he came before the court for anything else.

Afterwards a clearly relieved Redclift said that he would not be putting up another shed in his garden. "I came here today to keep out of prison and in that respect it has been a success," he said. "It is also important for my family that I am around particularly my daughter, who is at university studying medicine, she was upset by all this."

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