Police Ordered to Return Confiscated Pot

Give the pot back, the judge told the cops.

Santa Cruz, Calif., police pulled over a car with tinted windows — a no-no in California — last September, reports the Santa Cruz Sentinel. Inside they found two men and 18 ounces of "Purple Haze" brand marijuana worth about $3,000.

Leo Beus, 47, and his friend, Jon Balesteri, 54, were charged with transporting marijuana with intent to sell, but after they said they'd bought the weed at the Oakland Cannabis Buyers' Club — and produced medical prescriptions to prove it — the charges were eventually dropped.

California's medical-marijuana law (search) allows individuals to grow, smoke or otherwise use pot under a doctor's recommendation. A federal appeals court ruling in December upheld the law despite federal laws making pot illegal.

Superior Court Judge Art Danner (search) on Wednesday ordered that since the marijuana, which had been seized as evidence, was entirely legal, the police had to return it to Beus and Balestri.

In the hallway outside the courtroom, which the Sentinel reported reeked of the repossessed marijuana, the two men thanked defense attorney Ben Rice.

"Thanks, man, you're a sweetheart," said Balesteri, an ex-truck driver who said he suffers from migraines, carpal-tunnel syndrome and hepatitis C.

"Yes, thanks, it's been great," said Beus, a landscaper with two broken vertebrae who says regular pain medication nauseates him. "Santa Cruz has come a long way. I'm really grateful."

Just Don't Ask Him About the War

John Cleese's (search) famously incompetent and bad-tempered hotel-keeper, Basil Fawlty, has a real-life counterpart.

Sally Burchell, who dined at the Atlantic Hotel in Newquay, southwestern England, wrote a letter complaining to the hotel's manager that she was refused a free glass of tap water with a $32 meal, and was told she'd have to buy bottled water.

Burchell, 34, was with about 50 coworkers from the Cornwall Child Protection Unit for a Christmas party, reports the BBC.

Manager Anthony Cobley would have none of her complaints. He wrote back: "I have read your letter and feel the need to enlighten you about the workings of the modern world.

"I buy water from the South West Water company. I buy the glasses that the water is served in. I buy the ice that goes into the water and I buy the labor to serve the water.

"I provide the luxury surroundings for the water to be drunk in and again pay for the labor and washing materials to wash the glass after you have used it, and you think that I should provide all of this free of charge!

"As regards your comment that you will not be returning to the Atlantic Hotel ever again, leaves me to say that customers who only drink water and complain about paying for it, I can certainly do without."

A spokesperson for South West Water, the aforementioned utility, told the BBC that a liter of tap water costs the customer less than one ten-thousandth of a penny.

Debbie Smith, head of marketing at the Cornwall Tourist Board (search), told the Associated Press: "This is certainly not an approach to customer care that I would advocate."

Swindling Scalpers Get Just Desserts

HOUSTON (AP) — Paul Broft and Brendan Gibbins had a worse weekend than their beloved New England Patriots at Sunday's Super Bowl in Houston.

They learned when they tried to enter Reliant Stadium (search) on Sunday that the tickets they bought from two men were bogus.

But their fortunes looked up as they awaited their flight home to Boston Monday afternoon at Houston's Bush Intercontinental Airport. They recognized two men waiting to board their flight as the ones they say sold them the fake tickets for $2,800.

So Broft and Gibbins called police.

Bruce Smith of Providence, Rhode Island, and Steven Ross of Boston are charged with theft, punishable by up to two years in state jail. Each is free on $2,000 bail. Their attorneys say their clients are innocent of any wrongdoing.

Not Every Man Is His Brother's Keeper

LONDON (AP) — Police are investigating the case of an elderly man who apparently didn't discover that his brother had died in their mobile home until 18 months later.

On Dec. 3, Herbert Silver, 72, called police to tell them of the "sudden death" of his 75-year-old brother, George. When authorities visited the scene, they found a decomposing body.

George's cadaver was found in his bedroom in the home in Fordingbridge, a town in southern England.

Police declined to comment Thursday about what might have happened, saying an inquest would be held about how Herbert Silver could not have noticed for so long that his brother was dead.

A post-mortem examination could not find a cause of death, but police ruled out suspicious circumstances.

The inquest is scheduled to begin on Feb. 19, a Hampshire police spokeswoman said on condition of anonymity.

Hockey-Dad Phenomenon Spreads to Other Sports

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — The father of a high school basketball player has been cited for misdemeanor assault for allegedly biting two referees after his son's team lost a game.

Police said Kevin Powers, 48, bit the men during a struggle after La Junta defeated St. Mary's High School last Friday. His son plays for St. Mary's.

"I've worked every gym in this town and never had a problem," said referee Scott Stanec, who was bitten on the head. John Carricato was bitten on the hand.

A third referee said the men got in a fight after exchanging words following the game. Powers, however, said the confrontation began after the referees ran into him as they left the court.

"[The officials] were running off the court, not watching where they were going, and I wasn't watching where I was going," Powers said Wednesday. "I was wrestled to the ground and dragged across the gym. Somebody reached in and was gouging at my eyes. They had their hands in my mouth, and they were trying to turn me like a bowling ball. Whoever it was, I bit."

Tom Robinson, an official with the Colorado High School Activities Association, said Powers has been banned from high school athletic events in the state for the rest of the year.

St. Mary's Principal Patty Beckert said officials will now be escorted from the court to the locker room by school administrators.

Compiled by Foxnews.com's Paul Wagenseil.

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