Man acquitted in RAF Mildenhall trial sentenced for growing cannabis
- Credit: Archant
A man cleared of affray after driving through security gates at RAF Mildenhall has been handed a suspended sentence for growing cannabis.
Glenn Wardle, 48, was behind the wheel of his father's black Volvo XC-70 with a teddy bear strapped to his chest when he drove through a checkpoint at the Suffolk US Air Force base on December 18, 2017.
He claimed he was from the US Secret Service and told staff he "wanted to speak to the president", Ipswich Crown Court previously heard.
Armed security staff shot at the vehicle a dozen times, and one guard was dragged along the ground for 30 metres as he tried to grab the car keys.
Wardle then drove towards an Osprey multi-purpose aircraft and was about to drive up the lowered ramp onto the plane when his car was rammed by security vehicles.
He was removed from the Volvo at gunpoint and became agitated when the teddy bear on his lap was wrenched away from him by security officers who feared it was a bomb, Catherine Bradshaw, prosecuting, previously told the court.
After his arrest Wardle, who was described as “babbling”, told officers he wanted to get on the plane because he needed “to see the president”.
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Wardle, who was prescribed anti-psychotic medication at the time, had a vision that morning of talking to Mr Obama after seeing a plane in the sky and believing he was on it, jurors heard.
Wardle, of Ethel Colman Way, Thetford, denied affray and the jury returned a unanimous not guilty verdict on December 23 last year after nearly two hours of deliberations.
Following his arrest for suspicion of affray, police visited Wardle's home and discovered six cannabis plants.
On Wardle's sentencing hearing on Tuesday, the court heard that at full growth, the plants could have produced around half a kilo of cannabis.
Ms Bradshaw said that a receipt was found for growing equipment which dated back to March 2016 and indicated Wardle had been growing cannabis for at least 21 months prior to the police search in December 2017.
Wardle previously pleaded guilty to producing cannabis and the conviction put him in breach of a eight-month suspended sentence received in 2017 following his conviction for possessing a machete outside The Forum in Norwich in 2016.
Judge Martyn Levett handed Wardle 14 weeks' imprisonment, suspended for two years, with a mental health treatment requirement.
He was also ordered to complete 20 rehabilitation activity requirement days.