September 19, 2003  
Volume 97, Issue 13  

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This is the church, this is the steeple... and hemp

By Laura Katsirdakis
Gazette Staff

It is one of the last places anyone would expect to find a secret stash of marijuana plants.

The roof of Gospel Hall in St. Thomas, ON, had a persistent leak. At about 7 p.m. on Tuesday night, members of the church went up on the roof to fix the leak and found a stash of the illegal plants.

"[While checking the leak] we discovered 29 large plastic garbage containers in which were smaller pots, each of these containing a mature marijuana plant," said Wade Steers, an elder at the Gospel Hall church. The police were called soon after, Steers added.

"We have no idea who put the plants up there, it's just a stroke of coincidence," Steers said. "It is very ironic, you would never expect to find this on a church roof.

"From a holy point of view this is a desecration of a church," he remarked.

"[The plants] were about three feet tall," said Jeff Pallister, community resource officer with the St. Thomas police.

"They were hidden from view. They were tucked on the southeast corner of the roof behind a sign," Pallister explained.

When asked how long the plants may have been on the roof, Steers noted he was on the roof four weeks earlier and saw nothing. "We had a roofer up three weeks ago and I'm certain he would have told us if he'd seen anything," Steers explained.

"There is a lesson in this for everyone. Any building with a concealed area could be at risk," Steers said. "Only a criminal would think to do this."

Steers expressed disgust for the person who hid the marijuana plants on the church roof. "It's like disturbing a grave in a cemetery," he said.



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