Man admits three cannabis charges

An Invercargill man caught with almost a kilogram of marijuana at his home told police he "enjoyed working with plants" and the extra income was a "bonus."

Hemi Nigel Batchelor (42) pleaded guilty in the Invercargill District Court to three cannabis-related charges of cultivating, supplying and possessing for supply.

The summary of facts, read to the court by prosecutor Penny Stratford, stated police were called to his address over another incident on October 17.

While they were there, they noticed a "strong smell of cannabis" coming from a detached garage and a warrantless search was carried out.

Police found a cannabis growing room with two tents containing the plants at various growth stages.

In one tent, police found 20 clones and 13 plants at vegetative stage and in the other, 18 more plants at an advanced stage.

Two plastic containers, one with dried cannabis weighing 585 grams and another with 289 grams of lower-quality cannabis, were also found at the property.

Ms Stratford said he also had a "reasonably sophisticated" operation, which included LED lighting, temperature and humidity meters.

When interviewed by police the next day, he admitted cultivating the cannabis plant and said he had been doing so for about 12 months.

During this time, he thought he earned about $30,000 in total.

He enjoyed working with the plants and the financial side was a bonus.

Judge John Brandts-Giesen asked if he could pay a "substantial" fine but Ms Stratford highlighted he was caught with a large amount of cannabis.

The judge asked for a pre-sentencing report and remanded Batchelor on bail for sentencing on February 25.

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