Charlotte Caldwell's medicinal cannabis oil for son is confiscated at Heathrow

Charlotte and Billy Caldwell

Immigration authorities have confiscated potentially life-saving cannabis medication after a mother and her epileptic son returned from a 7,000 mile weekend round trip to collect it.

Charlotte Caldwell tried to bring the drug into the United Kingdom for her sick son when she had the drug confiscated by customs officers.

Billy Caldwell, 12, had been receiving medicinal cannabis oil on prescription by his doctor for just over a year, but supplies ran out after the Home Office (interior ministry) ordered the doctor to stop prescribing it.

The mum, from Castlederg in Co Tyrone, said she will declare the fact she is carrying the medication to airport officials on their return from Toronto, who could arrest her, confiscate the drug, or allow her to continue on her return journey to Northern Ireland with the medicine.

Billy became the first person to be prescribed a cannabis-based medicine on the NHS after enduring up to 100 seizures a day and routinely ending up in hospital. "They did not want to do it", she said. One had tears in his eyes as they took the drug from her, she said.

"The reason they don't do it is that it can cause really bad side-effects - they wean them down slowly".

"I am praying now that we can get medicinal cannabis accessible to all the other children, and give their mummies and daddies back their right to hope, but most importantly give their children back their right to life".

Caldwell said at a news conference: "I will just go back to Canada and get more and I will bring it back again, because my son has a right to have his anti-epileptic medication in his country, in his own home".

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A Home Office spokeswoman said it was "sympathetic to the rare situation that Billy and his family are faced with".

Heathrow officials handed Ms Caldwell a letter from Mr Hurd requesting a meeting at the Home Office.

"The policing minister met Ms Caldwell and advised her that despite these extremely hard circumstances, it is unlawful to possess Schedule 1 drugs such as those seized at the border this morning without a licence", she added.

"I shouldn't have to break the law, but I would rather my son was illegally alive than legally dead".

Billy was first given the treatment in the United States, where medical marijuana is legal.

He became the first person in the United Kingdom to receive a prescription after his local GP, Brendan O'Hare, began writing them.

It comes after Home Office officials warned her GP to stop prescribing the drug to the youngster.


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