A 20-YEAR-OLD had designer cannabis worth up to quarter of a million pounds at the foot of his bed. 

Kieran Steptoe was storing the “Cali cannabis” for an unnamed third party, Swindon Crown Court heard.

When police smashed through the door of his cousin’s home in Tansley Moor, Liden, on February 25, 2021, where the youngster was lodging, they found almost 9kg of the class B drug divided among various plastic bags at the foot of his bed together with four mobile phones, a “tick list” of debtors and £230 cash.

Prosecutor Alec Small told the court the cannabis was a designer strain known as “Cali cannabis” which can fetch 50 per cent more than typical types of the drug.

This Is Wiltshire:

Cannabis found during raids in east Swindon in February Picture: WILTSHIRE POLICE

It is supposedly grown on the American west coast and imported, although there was no way of confirming the Swindon haul had been grown in California. 

Mr Small said of the drugs’ provenance: “It is almost impossible to tell if that is true or not and what dealers can do, of course, is take other strains of cannabis and package them up as Cali cannabis. It is not exactly an industry that has a very good consumer complaints department.” 

A police drugs expert estimated the weighty drugs haul could have been worth between £104,000 to £244,000 on the street.

Police found branded deal bags including ones marked “Major League Exotics” a California-based cannabis brand. Steptoe answered no comment to questions put to him interview. 

In a basis of plea, he claimed to have been paid £230 by a third party to store the cannabis in his room and had done the same on a number of previous occasions. He had sold small amounts of cannabis to contacts given to him by the third party on “about a dozen occasions.” 

He told the probation officer charged with producing a pre-sentence report that he’d become involved in September 2020. He was paid £50 and was directed by a third party to give drugs to people who came to his house with increasing regularity. He was told he had a drugs debt of £6,000 and was required to work off the debt. 

Judge Peter Crabtree made it clear he was sentencing Steptoe purely for the drugs found in his bedroom in February. 

Imposing 10 months’ imprisonment suspended for two years, the judge said: “Anyone involved in the supply of controlled drugs including class B is involved in criminality that wrecks lives and undermines the fabric of society.”

This Is Wiltshire:

Police in Liden during the February raids Picture: ADVER

Matthew Harbinson, mitigating, said his client had had a crippling cannabis addiction and had lost his job during the second lockdown. Since his arrest he had returned to live with his parents in Cardiff. He was committed to working with the probation service.

Steptoe, of Usk Road, Cardiff, pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to possession with intent to supply cannabis.

The judge ordered Steptoe to abide by a three-month curfew, complete 180 hours of unpaid work and do up to 25 rehabilitation activity requirement days. The drugs and £230 cash were forfeited.