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UK: Trio deny cannabis chocolate bars conspiracy charges

Wednesday 06 Dec 2006

Cash receipts totalling £30,000 were seized from the home of a couple
who supplied chocolate bars laced with cannabis to multiple sclerosis
sufferers, a court heard today.

Mark Gibson, 42, and his wife Lezley, 42, who has MS, told police they
made the Canna-Biz bars containing around 3.5gms of the drug in their
kitchen and then posted them out on request.

They estimated they sent out around 22,000 bars over the last six years.

But the couple, from Alston, Cumbria, deny two charges each of
conspiring to supply cannabis.

Marcus Davies, a school friend of Mark Gibson who is standing trial with
them at Carlisle Crown Court, denies the same charges.

He told police he operated a post office box for the cottage industry,
which advertised through a website he ran for their not-for-profit
organisation Therapeutic Help from Cannabis for Multiple Sclerosis, But he denied being involved in the making or supply of
the chocolate.

The trio were arrested after 33 Jiffy bags containing the Canna-Biz bars
were seized from the Royal Mail's Junction Street sorting office in
Carlisle in January this year.

Today, the jury heard Lezley Gibson told police all the money mentioned
in the receipts went "straight back in" to the chocolate-making operation.

The trio claims any money received was donated and sufferers were not
asked to pay for the bars. In the interview, read out to the court, she
said: "You see my house, my clothes, my car.

"We don't have any money, we just want to help people. We don't want to
line our pockets." She estimated she and her husband had sent out
Canna-Biz bars to over 2,000 people and were regularly in touch with 100
MS sufferers each week.

The case was adjourned until Friday when the prosecution will examine
its final witness. The defence is now not expected to open until Monday.

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