Cannabis user fined in court after neighbours complain about quality of life

Published: Monday, 16 August 2021

A 26-year-old woman has been fined after breaching a Community Protection Notice put in place after neighbours complained of the detrimental effects of her regular cannabis use.

Cara MacFarlane of Park Road, South Wigston was served a Community Protection Notice in March 2020 by Oadby & Wigston Borough Council (OWBC) after the authority received regular complaints from those living nearby.

The notice required MacFarlane to ensure that ‘no offensive or noxious fumes or odours - including all such smells linked to the use of unlawful substances - escaped from the property such as to cause nuisance or annoyance to others in the vicinity.’

In a three-month period after the notice was served in, the council received a further 35 reports of incidents concerning potent cannabis smells coming from her property.

OWBC took the decision to prosecute MacFarlane after she ignored repeated advice and warnings and refused offers of support to help address her drug misuse.

At a trial at Leicester Magistrates’ Court on Thursday, 5 August, which MacFarlane failed to attend, the council’s Assistant Solicitor, Samuel Ball, told the court how the offensive smells “caused a significant and detrimental effect on the quality of those residents’ lives and the peaceful use and enjoyment of their own properties”.

Thomas MacCabe, the council’s Anti-Social Behaviour Officer, said: “Residents across the borough, including those on Park Road in South Wigston, should be able to live in clean communities, free from nuisances caused by others, in whatever form they may take.”

OWBC’s Head of Law & Democracy, David Gill, said: "This case represents the first known successful prosecution brought in Leicestershire for a breach of a Community Protection Notice concerning the impacts of drug use from a residential dwelling, emphasising the seriousness of being issued with such a notice which should not be ignored”.

In her absence, MacFarlane was found guilty and fined £180, ordered to pay OWBC £180 in costs and a victim surcharge of £34. Due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and other matters, the case has only until recently been able to be heard.