A heavy cannabis user has been jailed after police recovered 50 plants growing at his home.

Rafal Pawlowski claimed all of the drugs were for his own personal use - but a judge was not convinced as she locked him up for 16 months.

The 44-year-old admitted that he shared his illicit stash with friends when they came round to smoke a joint but police estimated that the plants could produce enough cannabis to sell for £42,000 on the streets.

Teesside Crown Court heard how Pawlowski’s mother was at home when they raided the property in Middlesbrough and discovered that three rooms had been transformed in plant nurseries.

Tabitha Buck, prosecuting, said police turned up at the house on Grasby Close, Middlesbrough, just before noon on November 30 last year and the defendant’s mother answered the door.

“The first floor was fully converted into a cannabis farm,” she said. “There were three growing areas on the first floor and the electricity had been bypassed.

“A total of 50 plants were recovered and police estimated they would yield 4,200g of cannabis with a street value of £42,000.”

Miss Buck said the defendant told officers it was all for his personal use and had nothing to do with his mother when he was interviewed.

The Northern Echo: Rafal Pawlowski Rafal Pawlowski (Image: Cleveland Police)

Pawlowski, formerly of Grasby Close, Middlesbrough, pleaded guilty to production of cannabis and illegal extraction of electricity.

Timothy Jacobs, mitigating, said his client continued to maintain that the plants were for his own use as he was recognised heavy user of the Class B drug.

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He said: “It’s not uncommon for small groups of people to come to his house and smoke with him. He accepts that some of it would be sold to others but he doesn’t accept that it was a commercial operation.”

Recorder Aisha Wadoodi dismissed the defendant’s claim that the cannabis farm was only for his personal use.

She said: “I accept that you were a heavy cannabis user and that you will have consumed the cannabis with friends but in my opinion, this was a commercial growth.”

Pawlowski was told he would serve half of the sentence before being released depending on his immigration status.