POLICE swooped on a Bidford couple’s home in search of drugs after a sniffer dog mistook a legal garden plant for cannabis.
Chris Vincent, aged 58, and his wife Anne, 57, were stunned when officers turned up at their home demanding access to their back garden.
But officers apologised after they discovered the plant was not cannabis but a common evergreen creeper called moss phlox.
Since the couple moved into their house 10 years ago, their garden has given off a powerful stench of cannabis. The smell became so strong two years ago that streams of teenagers began knocking on their door asking to buy drugs.
The couple said the same teenager come round three times after “he refused to take no for an answer”.
Chris said: “When we bought the house, the plant was already there – but then it grew and grew. It didn’t look like marijuana, it just looked like a fern with lovely flowers. My wife’s a keen gardener but we didn’t know what it was – we just thought it was quite pretty.
“But local teenagers kept coming to the door saying, ‘Sorry mate we can smell ganja, you got any?’ – and I’d say no, I haven’t got anything.
“They were real hoodies – but also strangely polite, obviously thinking that I was some mean drug dealer. It’s happened loads of times over the past couple of years and most recently just a few weeks ago before the cops showed up. It’s unbelievable – I’ve never even smoked a joint in my life.”
Although moss phlox looks nothing like cannabis and grows vivid pink flowers in the spring, the plant gives off a similar smell. Police swooped on the Vincents’ home three weeks ago after a drug dog “went berserk” when it detected the pungent odour. Officers advised the couple to cut the plant down to prevent further confusion.
Mr Vincent said: “We never really smelt the cannabis aroma before we dug it up, when it was really strong. We didn’t even really know what cannabis smelt like, to be honest.”
Warwickshire Police confirmed they had requested Mr Vincent remove the plant.