Police who descended upon a house in Gloucester Street in Cheltenham found themselves faced by a traditionally-decorated Christmas tree, replete with baubles, bows, lights and tinsel and with a golden angel atop. Closer inspection revealed that this was a large heavily-disguised cannabis plant. It turned out that the house contained a small cannabis farm and the associated equipment.
A photograph was posted to the Twitter account of Gloucestershire Constabulary along with the comment, “Not your traditional Christmas Tree! Two arrested in Cheltenham on suspicion of cannabis cultivation.” The house was searched on Thursday December 22, leading to the arrest of a man and a woman. They were bailed until February 8 2017.
There have been many drugs raids in Gloucestershire in recent months as part of Operation Emperor. This one was derided on Twitter, with such comments as ?you suck. how about chasing down some terrorists or solving a crime instead of stealing somebody’s christmas tree,? [email protected]_Police had NOTHING better to do?? and ?How the pigs stole Christmas.?
The incident was mentioned in the Daily Telegraph, Daily Mail and Daily Mirror. It was even covered by the UPI press agency, Huffpo, the New Zealand Herald and Oregon Cannabis Connection.
There was another instance of cannabis-in-disguise earlier in the year, when Free Cannabis ? who went by the name of Rob Christopher until changing it by deed poll in 1997 ? found himself in the dock for growing cannabis in the flower display outside his shop on Glastonbury High Street for 18 years, with watering performed by the council.
This was not the only episode of festive frivolity by Gloucestershire police. In December 2015, two officers were found to have engaged in coitus at a police station. In the name of transparency, the force publicises the outcomes of public misconduct hearings, with sacking sometimes resulting. This did not transpire this time because the female partner was deemed vulnerable at the time; the mitigating circumstances were not detailed and she was accused of mere misconduct rather than gross misconduct and given a final written warning, effective for 18 months. The male of the duo had already been sacked for no reason that was given.