Man claims 72 cannabis plants worth £40,000 were for his own use

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Court

A man charged in connection with the seizure of 72 cannabis plants with an estimated street value of up to £40,000 has been released on bail.

Szymon Karpik (26), of Mount Street, Coleraine, is one of three men charged with cultivating cannabis at the property listed as Karpik’s address; possession of cannabis; possession of the drug with intent to supply and being concerned in the supply of cannabis.

Karpik appeared before Coleraine Magistrates Court on Monday via video link from Maghaberry Prison where he and the two other accused had previously been remanded in custody in connection with the charges.

Karpik applied for bail which was objected to by a police officer.

The officer said police carried out at a search at Mount Street at 10.20pm on September 6 this year and the three suspects were in the property – a two storey terraced house.

Upstairs 72 cannabis plants with an approximate value of between £36,000 and £40,000 were discovered.

During an interview the defendant admitted cultivating cannabis and said it was for his own use.

District Judge Peter King asked: “All 72 plants?” and the officer replied “yes”.

The officer said police would have concerns that Karpik, who is Polish, could flee the jurisdiction if released and that he had only been here for around a year.

The officer said the defendant had worked at a meat factory.

The officer said police were also concerned of the defendant committing further offences and said police wanted to speak to him about another drugs investigation.

Defence solicitor Ciaran Shiels (Madden & Finucane) said police had no issues concerning a possible bail address.

Mr Shiels said the defendant had no criminal record in Poland or in Northern Ireland and said the defendant had admitted fully that he was involved in cannabis cultivation at the Coleraine property to get “cheaper” drugs for himself.

He said there were no trappings of wealth which “would indicate he was anything other than a gardener (of the cannabis)”.

The court heard one of the co-accused has also been charged in connection with another “cannabis factory”.

Judge King released Karpik on £500 bail and a surety of £800 to an address to be approved by police and he has to report to police each week day.

He has to surrender any passport of identification document used for travel purposes and not apply for replacements; and he is not to contact his co-accused.

The defendant is also subject to a 10pm-6.30am curfew with electronic tagging.

Adjourning the case to November, Judge King said the decision to grant bail was “finely determined” and was based on the defendant’s lack of criminal record and also because it was unlikely that full forensics in the case would be ready before Christmas.

The other two accused – Patrick Warzichowski (26), of no fixed abode in Coleraine and Marcin Kobylinski (26) of Townhead Street, Ballymoney, have been further remanded in custody.

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