Cops set me up, dope grower claims

A Whangarei man jailed for growing cannabis in two shipping containers and who blamed police for deliberately setting him up is appealing his sentence and conviction.

Tony James Ware, 47, was sentenced in the Whangarei District Court last month to three years and 10 months after a jury found him guilty of cultivating cannabis and stealing power worth $17,409.

The Court of Appeal on Wednesday confirmed Ware had filed an appeal but a hearing date is yet to be set.

Police discovered the cannabis operation during a search of his rural Whareora property on August 11, 2011. Their investigations also revealed Ware stole more than $17,000 worth of electricity to run the illegal operation.

Ware represented himself throughout the trial and, at sentencing, told Judge John McDonald he would be appealing his sentence.

He also disagreed about the number of plants found by police and the size of the plants.

Ware also said he hadn't stolen the $17,409 worth of electricity and claimed police were lying and, during a few hours while he was away, seven officers brought in hundreds of cannabis plants and growing equipment and set him up.

- By Imran Ali of the Northern Advocate

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