Dopey transaction gives police officer easy arrest

Last updated 00:32 24/05/2008
ROBERT KITCHIN/Dominion Post
NOT THE COOLEST: Wade Churchward from Masterton accidentally got busted by the police for possession of drugs when he tried to pay his bill with weed instead of money at a service station.

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The world was laughing at Masterton man Wade Churchward and he did not even know it.

He made headlines this week after being busted trying to use cannabis to pay for snacks when he got a bad case of the munchies. The problem was, a policeman had been standing behind him in a petrol station watching.

News of his dopey transaction quickly spread around the globe thanks to the internet a technology that Churchward, 28, a mechanic, confesses to never using and made him the butt of jokes from his mates.

He said yesterday he remembered nothing of the night in question, or the fact that people around the world were reading about his plight.

"I had just had surgery on my lung after puncturing it in a motorbike accident and had forced myself from hospital at 3pm to make my mate's wedding by four," he said. "I guess with all that morphine and all the narcotics they had been pumping into me and after jumping straight into jugs of beer, you could pretty much see what was going to happen."

Constable Peter Sykes said he noticed the attendant was having trouble with a customer as he filled up his patrol car. "He kept looking out at the window at me and I started wondering, `What the hell is going on?"'

Inside, Churchward was munching his way through his snacks while trying to pay with an eftpos card, which kept being declined. Undeterred, he pulled out a tin of cannabis and a pipe to smoke it in and offered it to the attendant as payment before Sykes tapped him on the shoulder.

Churchward's family, who had also been at the wedding, arrived at the petrol station as he was being spoken to. They offered to take him home, rather than have him spend a night in a cell, and he was summonsed to appear in court.

It was not until the next morning when he sobered up that his sister went through his wallet and pulled out $47 in cash he had the money on him the whole time.

He appeared in the Masterton District Court and pleaded guilty this week to possessing cannabis and will be sentenced on July 3.

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- The Dominion Post

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