Merbein cannabis sales failed

A MERBEIN man who grew cannabis among grapevines on his elderly parents’ fruit block failed to sell any of his crop because it was of poor quality, a court has heard.

Zeynel Ayhan, 50, faced Mildura Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday, charged with trafficking, cultivating and possessing cannabis.

Police searched the Merbein vineyard in April and when investigators spoke to Ayhan, he directed them to a row of grapevines where several cannabis plants were growing.

Sixteen plants of various sizes were seized and a further search of Ayhan’s iPad ­revealed he had been trying to sell the drug to some people and giving it free to others.

Prosecutor Lauren Abson said Ayhan made full admissions to the offence at the police station and told police he was unable to sell any ­cannabis because it was not very good quality.

Ayhan represented himself in court and pleaded guilty to the charges, telling Magistrate Andrew McKenna he was making efforts to turn his life around.

Ayhan said drugs were “obviously a problem” in his life but told Mr McKenna: “I’m on the verge of fixing myself up.”

Mr McKenna said he was considering sending Ayhan to jail and asked him why it had taken so long for him to make progress on his drug problem.

“It seems to me the risk of you relapsing is high,” Mr McKenna said.

Ayhan said he had failed to complete previous correct­ions orders because the harvest period kept him busy on the family dried fruit property.

However Mr McKenna gave Ayhan another chance to reform, placing him on another corrections order with 100 hours’ unpaid work and a requirement to undergo treatment for drug dependency.

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