Police raid 79-year-old woman for pot, find tomato plants

Police officers in Scotland were disappointed to learn that the people they intended to arrest for growing marijuana were growing an equally innocuous, but unfortunately legal, plant -- tomatoes.
Uniformed officers burst into Lulu Matheson's house in the village of Shieldaig, Wester Ross, kept her son Gus in his bedroom for two hours, handcuffed her grandson Stephen, and turned the house upside down.

The high-profile afternoon raid involved three squad cars, seven officers and sniffer dogs. They told the family they were looking for cannabis, but after searching for several hours had to concede the green plants visible in the window from the roadside were tomatoes.

Naturally, the cops didn't apologize. They were just doing their job.

UPDATE: The best bit? At taxpayers' expense, "the officers insisted on sending samples of the plants to be analysed."

Police raid 79-year-old woman for pot, find tomato plants


  1. If ever there was a time for a Freudian slip, this would be it. Clearly it should read “uninformed officers…”

  2. Who puts pot plants in their WINDOW?! What kind of dumbass assumes this is likely? Scottish cops are almost as dumb and anxious as cope in the US. Almost.

  3. Sounds like some neighbour tipped off police and they went barging in. That is a good thing, right? Right?

  4. Hmm, maybe we should try drying and smoking tomato and potato plant leaves to see what the effect is? Maybe the Scottish Police are onto something.

    Though last time I checked, members of the nightshade family didn’t produce THC.

  5. The sad thing is that a single cop dropping by and asking her about the plants would probably have quickly resolved the situation to the satisfaction of everyone.

    And if it had been pot, then why not just call for backup at that point?

  6. I don’t know why everyone is getting worked up about this, any thinking person has to realize that winning the war against plants is the key to the survival of the human species going forward. Sure, terrorizing old women and harassing innocents is distasteful, but it is a necessary evil. Ingesting non-government approved substances wreaks havoc on the Queen, er, the economy. If enough people got their hands on illicit plants, they might decide that trampling someone to death for an X-Box is a stupid thing to do, and we really can’t have that.

    Everyone needs to buy stuff that they don’t really need, do your part, keep the global economy from collapsing.

  7. During the great depression we got a rollback on the war on booze. Can I request a cannabis bailout? For the children, of course.

  8. Children, there’s a time and placed for everything, and it’s called college. Until then, keep your homegrown tomatoes to the back burner.

  9. Apologize?

    Don’t they realize the whole point of being a modern-day cop or civil servant is so that you can turn people’s lives upside-down with complete impunity?

    Otherwise there’d be no point at all.

  10. @Takuan

    We need to send all the bobbies over to the Scottish Sun article. Make sure they observe the photos.

    The real thing… VS Spot the difference…

    Grew up with tomato plants, ran across my first Cannabis when our goofy hippie renter neighbors decided to grow it out in the open under the barn eve just 10 feet off the road. You have to be suffering 20/200 eyesight and have only half a brain to have to send it to a lab for identification.

  11. This is not a unique event. One of the cleaners at my sister’s friend’s University-owned accomodation reported them for growing pot because they had, as a group, decided to grow tomatoes in the windows of their communal areas and the woman was not able to tell the difference.

    Fortunately in that case the University didn’t call the police straight in, they went to look for themselves and discovered tomatoes being grown, and plans to renovate the derelict greenhouse in the neglected grounds.

    Perhaps school anti-drugs lessons should also include how to tell the difference between pot and tomatoes?

  12. Samples of the plant? Are they fucking daft? Are they thinking that just because it looks and smells like a tomato plant, and has red fruit on it, it might still be marijuana?

    can they please fire whoever made that call for gross incompetence?

  13. Yeah, “analyzed” between two slices of whole wheat bread with light mayo and lots of salt and pepper.

  14. Perpetuating your own moral justifications:

    1. You scare the shit out of people growing Cannabis, ot those who have a desire to do so, or those who might.

    2. This makes Cannabis a scarse substance because there are not many people willing to live a life being labelled a criminal or having to look over your shoulder all the time.

    3. This drives the price of Cannabis up to a level that it gets the attention of those who are greedy enough to take the risks of being prosecuted.

    4. You have now managed to establish an illegal industry being led by people whose primary concern it is to make huge profits and generally do not give a shit about the law.

    As of today, in the Netherlands, where I live, all types of hallucinogenic mushrooms have been declared illegal. To some, this means a new business opportunity.

  15. If you look closely at the picture you can see that the plants actually HAVE TOMATOES ON THEM.

  16. Hmm, Daily Mail…
    I dare say there’s a lot of truth behind this story, but I’d go for better sources than the UK equivalent of Fox News.

  17. Which reminds me ;)
    Back in the 80s I was at my then girlfriend’s when she got raided by the police – they confiscated her pot pourri…

  18. equally innocuous? i think not. have you ever heard of marijuana cross-contaminating someone with e. coli?

  19. WEll I understand that the police want to crack down on the illegal weed maybe doing more leg work instead a full raid would have worked out better. I don’t understand how a Tomato plant can be mistaken for weed especial as it states she has been doing this for years, maybe instead of listening to the one complaint they could have asked other neighbours, sometimes a little leg work pays…but then maybe they thought it would “tip off” the family if they asked around… who knows….its not likely the cops are going be admitting they were wrong.
    It just seems odd that they rushed into raid mode so fast…here in Canada they normally watch the place and people for MONTHS and have to do a lot of background work etc before they are allowed to just bust into someones house…

  20. Okay, the whole thing is just wrong wrong wrong.

    But WTF kind of training are these guys getting, such that they are permitted to do this stuff? If the thing you are trying to find is a plant, isn’t a little botanical taxonomy in order? You know, as part of the training? Or maybe, if you were too much of a dolt to pass the lab practical, and couldn’t tell Cannabis from commonly grown garden plants, couldn’t they shell out and give these numb nuts’ a picture of a pot plant? The thought of these people being allowed to carry firearms is frightening. If you can’t tell a tomato plant from a pot plant, your brain or your eyes are seriously impaired. You might have a problem telling the difference between a sniper and a toddler, after all, they are the same species!

  21. Well, given that tomato leaves are many, many times more dangerous for you than marijuana leaves, I’d say the police were absolutely correct — up until the point where they left without burning down the stash (burning the house down might have helped).

    If they had found marijuana plants, of course, they should have just left, with an apology for the disturbance.

  22. A few years ago in NYC there was a similar suit. A man in his 80s was accused by a neighbor of dealing guns out of his apartment. A police task squad, with no evidence other than the word of his neighbor, bust down his door crushing one of his cats. They then threw the man on the ground although he was attached to an iron lung while they searched his apartment. The man told them he had a heart condition and needed medical help but they did nothing. He had a heart attack while they found nothing, then he died a week later from complications.
    His widow was suing the state of NY for $2.5M. I don’t know what happened with the lawsuit.

  23. Antonia- It seems that the model has been reversed. That is they will conduct a raid on the slightest reason (aka “anon tip”), then look for a justification afterwards. If there is never a penalty for being negligent, why stop?

  24. The police need to expect criminals to try harder. Your a jackass if you think that someone growing weed would do it in their window somewhere in a city. I grew up in rural Alberta – even the farmers don’t grow weed out in the open here. Because its stupid. If the plant is growing in the open shouldn’t this at least start warning bells that it might not be pot? The police didn’t even have to smash down the door.

    (walking up to the window)
    Cop 1: “Eh! Cedric! Strike me blind is this marijuana in the window?”
    Cop 2: (taking a look) “That’s a tomato you daft wanker. Lets go get some fried mars bars.”

    Jeez – someone tell the police they might actually have to do a solid days work for once.

  25. I report from Amsterdam, Europe somewhere, where there’s no marijuana problem. People grow a few potted plants on their balconies and in the tiny gardens houses have here, for personal use. And they smoke what they grow. No problem.

  26. Don’t they realize the whole point of being a modern-day cop or civil servant is so that you can turn people’s lives upside-down with complete impunity?

    Hey! Why are you dragging the rest of us civil servants into this?

  27. >Are they thinking that just because it looks and smells like a tomato plant, and has red fruit on it, it might still be marijuana?

    They’re sending samples away for analysis in an effort to save face: to make it look to observers like you and I that it’s a less clear-cut case than it really is; sow the seeds of doubt and obfuscate their stupidity.

  28. re: #1

    I read your comment as:

    “should have put a few slugs in her plants for wasting police time. Peasant scum.”

    And I thought it sounded a bit harsh. It’s demoralising to have your plants eaten by slugs.

    Then I figured out what you’d really said and slug-eaten plants didn’t sound so harsh after all!

  29. can’t have the commoners getting all jumped up and expecting civil rights. It takes a firm hand to govern the rabble and examples must be made. In my day we would hung the lot of them outside their croft “pour encourager les autres” and given all their sheep a damn good whipping.

  30. A decade or two ago, police in the US (Arkansas?) busted a woman for growing okra, a plant that Southerners ought to recognize almost as well as tomatoes. On the other hand, I’ve grown some kinds of flowers that have tall stalks and MJ-looking leaves for a while (got them from my father; on the other hand, he was the one who found the pot plant that grew up volunteer beside my garage the first year I had that house so I never got to really compare them :-)

    BBninja, your post reminds me of the Simpsons episode about tomacco, an evilly addictive cross between tomatoes and tobacco. Your version would be just right for pizza….

  31. Don’t they realize the whole point of being a modern-day cop or civil servant is so that you can turn people’s lives upside-down with complete impunity?

    I hope that you never actually need the police to save you from anything, lest it shatter your smug superiority.

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