Belfast Telegraph

Cannabis pair grew own supply because street drugs of poor quality

By Ashleigh McDonald

Two Polish nationals were so disappointed with the quality of herbal cannabis sold in Carrickfergus that they decided to grow their own, a court heard.

Appearing in the dock of Belfast Crown Court were 31-year-old Marcin Jarzebiak and Bartosz Czeslaw Szadkowski (38), who each admitted a charge of cultivating cannabis. Szadkowski also pleaded guilty to possessing the class B drug. A Crown prosecutor told the court that police stopped a Ford Focus driven by Szadkowski and with Jarzebiak on board on October 22, 2013. When they were speaking to the driver, police noticed a strong smell of cannabis.

They searched the vehicle under the Misuse of Drugs Act and found a small bag containing 32 grams of herbal cannabis down the driver's side of the vehicle.

The pair were taken to the police station and a decision was made to search their home on Carrick's Albert Road. The prosecutor said "as a result of this search, police discovered a cannabis growing operation comprising of 37 plants together with the associated paraphernalia."

Seven of the plants were attributed to Jarzebiak, while the remaining 30 plants belonged to Szadkowski.

During police interviews, both men admitted they were "long term regular users of cannabis."

They also made the case that the quality of herbal cannabis sold in Carrickfergus was so poor that they decided to "embark on a home growing operation".

The prosecutor told Judge Gordon Kerr QC that the Polish nationals came before the court with no previous criminal convictions.

Sentencing the pair, Judge Gordon Kerr QC ruled the cannabis found in their home was for personal use. Szadkowski was handed a 12-month sentence which was suspended for two years, while Jarzebiak was given a nine-month sentence, also suspended for two years.

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