Met PC David Price spared jail for growing cannabis
A Metropolitan Police officer who grew cannabis in the loft of his former family house near Bristol has been spared jail.
At an earlier hearing, PC David Price, 29, admitted producing cannabis.
At Bristol Crown Court, Price got a 16-week jail term, suspended for a year, and must do 200 hours' unpaid work.
He was filmed undercover hanging cannabis plants out to dry. Three others involved gave the footage to the Daily Mirror, the court heard.
A Met Police spokesman confirmed Price was suspended from duty and misconduct proceedings would now take place.
The PC's former partner Emily Bayliss, 27, admitted being concerned in the production of the Class B drug and was given a 12-month community order.
'Very promising career'
Price was also told to pay £1,000 in costs by Judge Carol Hagen.
The court was told Price, based at Paddington police station in west London, had split up from Bayliss at the beginning of 2010.
She had remained in the family home in Charlton Road, Keynsham, with the children but Price, who was now living with his parents, continued to pay the mortgage - putting him under growing financial pressure.
Prosecutor Claire Howell said Price was a "warehouseman" for the cannabis-growing operation while Bayliss - although not directly involved - had allowed her loft to be used.
Passing sentence, Judge Hagen told the policeman: "In your case it is not an exaggeration to describe you as having been an outstanding police officer with a very promising career.
"All that thrown away because of the sheer folly of what you did."
Judge Hagan said she found Price's involvement in the operation somewhere between a "significant and a lesser role".
The court heard that three other people involved in the operation, who have not been charged, gave the footage of Price with the drugs to the tabloid newspaper.
They would have been paid £1,000 if the story was published, the court was told.
When police raided Bayliss's home, they found equipment capable of producing 18 cannabis plants.
The drugs produced were of poor quality, the court was told.
Price had just passed his sergeant's exams when he was arrested last August.
Richard Shepherd, for Price, said no-one would really know why his client's three associates went to the Daily Mirror.
"Who knows what happened to make them turn on David Price and Emily Bayliss," he said.
"Maybe he got into a dispute or maybe they didn't get the returns they wanted.
"Maybe he realised he had made a mistake and that was the end of it and those three were not happy with that state of affairs."
He added: "He travels on almost a daily basis to work his shifts at the Metropolitan Police.
"When in London he either sleeps on friend's sofas or in the back of his car."