A man who described himself as having a “crazy head” claimed he grew a number of cannabis plants – estimated by police to be worth £31,000 – to use himself as his mental health had deteriorated and coming originally from Poland he had no support network in Coleraine.
Emil Zdunek (26), of Lower Captain Street, Coleraine, had converted his then address at New Row in the town into a cannabis factory.
It came to police attention when staff at a nearby business premises smelt cannabis and officers followed their noses to the defendant’s home.
Police discovered 31 mature plants inside a grow tent along with large bin bags full of soil in a rear upstairs bedroom at Zdunek’s house in April this year.
At an earlier court sitting the defendant admitted charges of cultivating cannabis and possessing cannabis.
He was back in court for sentencing on Monday and Coleraine Magistrates Court heard Zdunek told police he grew the plants after paying £200-£250 online and his intention was to smoke ten grammes of cannabis a day.
Defence solicitor Sam Barr explained the defendant described himself at the time of the offences as having a “crazy head”.
The lawyer said the defendant had “very little support network” in the area after his mental health deteriorated but he is now much better.
The solicitor said police examined the defendant’s phone and there was no suggestion he was dealing drugs.
The lawyer disputed the estimated value of the drugs saying it could be half the amount suggested.
Mr Barr said there were so many plants because the defendant was more successful in his growing efforts than anticipated.
The solicitor said the defendant now plans to return to Poland.
District Judge Peter King said the defendant had a previously clear record in Northern Ireland and had entered guilty pleas.
He sentenced Zdunek to three months in jail, suspended for 18 months.