A Met Police officer who grew cannabis in his loft has walked free from court after receiving a suspended prison sentence.
But Pc David Price's distinguished career lies in tatters as he faces dismissal from the Metropolitan Police following his conviction. A Met Police spokesman confirmed Price was suspended from duty and misconduct proceedings would now take place.
Price, 29, was on the verge of promotion having passed his exams to become a sergeant when he was arrested.
He was captured on undercover video footage hanging cannabis plants out to dry at a property in Keynshan, Somerset. When police raided the house in Charlton Road last August they found equipment capable of producing 18 cannabis plants. Other video clips showed the father of four openly talking about marijuana while his children could be heard in the background.
Bristol Crown Court heard that three other people involved in the operation gave the footage of Price with the drugs to the Daily Mirror newspaper. They would have been paid £1,000 if the story was published, the court was told.
At an earlier hearing Price - who at the time of his arrest was helping tackle last summer's London riots - pleaded guilty to producing cannabis. His former partner, Emily Bayliss, 27, admitted being concerned in the production of the Class B drug.
Price was given a 16-week prison sentence, suspended for 12 months, ordered to do 200 hours of unpaid work and told to pay £1,500 prosecution costs by Judge Carol Hagen. Bayliss received a 12-month community order with supervision and a requirement to do 10 days of employment, training or education.
The court heard that Price, who was 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 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.
The court was told that the cannabis Price produced was of poor quality and that in order to make any money the three others had given the footage to the Daily Mirror. "As a serving police officer, it made him a target," Miss Howell said. The three were arrested by police but were never charged.