This man deserves an apology and the law needs to take action because by interfering with his Private Life without justification, the police have acted illegally.
The criteria under Human Rights law - like it or not - is that there must be some threat to public health, public order or the Rights of others. This was clearly not the case.
Police then go on to say that their operations are hit and miss because they take time to organise - in this case seemingly even giving the victim enough time to go to bed!
As for the lighter and rolling papers being called "drug paraphernalia" - well yes, often used to smoke the drug-containing tobacco - a poisonous and addictive substance easily obtainable.
And the herb-grinder? I have seen herb grinders sold in many shops including supermarkets, along with coffee-grinders and so on. Presumably if it had been used to grind cannabis there would be evidence that someone had at some time used it for that purpose.
The law needs to be changed - even if this man had been caught with a small-amount of cannabis it would not make him guilty of doing harm and prosecution would have been unjust, even if legal.
Inspector Burgess said :"these crimes that blight our community", presumably referring to the cultivation and supply of cannabis rather than the possession of the grinder, lighter and papers!
The answer to that is to take the dealers off the streets and the way to do that is allow people to grow their own in their own private dwellings for their own use and the establishment of licensed cultivators and suppliers with consumer protection, quality control, tax on profits, credible advice and help and separation from hard drugs and crime.
Brentwood Gazette, February 8 2012
POLICE officers smashed open the door of a flat in Warley after a tip-off that cannabis was being smoked and dealt in the area.
Five officers from Brentwood police station barged into the cramped one-bed apartment in Border Edge House, Firsgrove Road, after obtaining a search warrant from magistrates.
A red Enforcer battering ram was used to force open the double-locked front door of the untidy ground-floor property.
In a bid to avoid disturbing neighbours, officers had earlier attempted to use a key to gain access to the flat without success.
The occupant of the flat, a 30-year-old unemployed man, was in bed when the police forced entry.
After initial but brief resistance, the man co-operated as officers wearing body armour combed his home for drugs.
Wearing rubber gloves, the team searched the man's bedroom, kitchen, bathroom and hallway but found no illegal substances.
However drugs paraphernalia, including a cannabis grinder, a lighter and rolling papers, were discovered.
The raid, christened Operation Brompton, took place at 6.50am on Thursday and followed the receipt of intelligence which suggested that packages, possibly containing drugs, were being exchanged outside the property.
Officers left the flat at 7.20am and the occupant was not charged with any offence.
PC Neil Baldock, the first man to enter the property, told the Gazette: "With the paraphernalia that he has got, there is clear evidence of cannabis having been smoked."
Meanwhile, Sergeant Dan Tan, who led the operation, admitted he was disappointed not to have found any drugs.
He said: "It went as well as an operation could have gone but unfortunately with a negative result.
"We always like to get a positive result, even if it is straight possession, because a lot of time goes into planning these things.
"Sometimes with these operations it can be hit and miss – we could come back tomorrow and get a positive result."
He added: "We will continue to monitor it and if we get any more information, we are duty-bound to act on it."
Inspector Jon Burgess, who authorised the operation, said: "We depend very much on support and information from local people.
"If you tell us what you know about suspected crimes and criminal activity in the area, then we will act on that information.
"No drugs were found this time, but nonetheless this is a warning to anyone involved in supplying drugs in Brentwood.
"If we have good reason to know you are committing these crimes that blight our community, we will come for you."