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Saturday, 26 July 2014

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Carlisle police find cannabis farms in city homes

Cannabis farms with more than £15,000 worth of plants were discovered at two homes in Carlisle.

The two men behind the drug farms – which were not linked – both admitted growing the Class B drug but claimed it was only for their own use as it was cheaper than buying on the open market.

Forty-year-old Ryan D’Souza and Tomas Mackowiak, 31, were both described as heavy cannabis users when they appeared at Carlisle Crown Court in separate cases.

The court heard that police searched D’Souza’s home in Orton Road, off Wigton Road, last April and found one of the bedrooms had been turned into a cannabis farm.

Prosecutor Becky McGregor said there were 22 plants, around 2ft-tall, and “all in good health.” Fans were circulating air around the room and there were spotlights.

“Detective Constable Jason Priestley said the plants were capable of producing about 70 grams of cannabis worth £10,320.”

D’Souza admitted producing cannabis but maintained it was only for his use. “He got the seeds off the internet and the lights from eBay,” Ms McGregor said.

“He told police he used around £100 of cannabis a day. He has a drug and alcohol habit.”

Recorder Howard Bentham QC said D’Souza was described by police as “smoking himself into a decline using all this cannabis.”

Mackowiak was arrested thanks to vigilant police officers, prosecutor Greg Hoare said, after they noticed him and another man acting suspiciously in a lane near Spencer Street.

The officers noticed them throw something away – which later turned out to be a small amount of amphetamine – and were “struck by an overwhelming smell of cannabis.”

“They called for help in the form of a drugs dog and it found two bags containing plant material and one further away in a bush which contained cannabis plants,” he said.

They later searched his home in Newtown Road and discovered two tents containing 14 plants which would have grown 650g of cannabis – worth £6,500.

“He was the only one living there and told police he set up the operation,” Mr Hoare added.

“He said he was a heavy user and it was an economic measure.”

Recorder Bentham gave him a 12-month community order and ordered him to complete 50 hours of unpaid work. Mackowiak, who also admitted possessing amphetamine, was also ordered to pay a £60 victim surcharge.

D’Souza was given a 12-month jail sentence, suspended for two years,and a 12-month community order. He was ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £100.

The Recorder ordered that both farms be destroyed.

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