Bristol drug user grew cannabis to avoid dealers’ attacks

A POLISH cannabis user who claimed he grew his own drugs to avoid being assaulted by dealers in St Paul’s has avoided jail.  Adam Wawrzymak, 27, who also said he had not realised it was illegal to grow drugs for personal use, was found with 35 plants in his Lawrence Hill flat.  One set of 17 plants was said to have a street value of more than £2,700 a judge at Bristol Crown Court heard yesterday.  Robert Reid, prosecuting, said police made the discovery on August 17 after investigating an open door which led to four flats.  He said: “They noticed a distinct cannabis smell emanating from the top-floor flat.”  Wawrzymak opened the door and police found two sets of plants, one set which had been harvested and were drying out and a second set of 18 plants growing in the bedroom.  On arrest Wawrzymak, who works for a wine company, said he had a habit which involved him spending £200 a week on drugs but that after being attacked on a number of occasions in St Paul’s and Easton he decided to grow his own crop.

Mr Reid added: “He said he never sold it but it was useful because it helped him to sleep and to control his appetite. He said it was legal in Czechoslovakia, where he has some connection, and he didn’t realise it was illegal in the UK.”  Rodney Wilson, defending, said Wawrzymak had been smoking cannabis for 15 years. He said that his rent of £200 a month and his earnings of up to £325 a week led to him having “a considerable amount of money to waste on cannabis”.  He said previous acts of violence from drug dealers in St Paul’s and Easton, coupled with the cost of his habit, had caused him to try growing his own drugs.  He said: “It was the first time he had grown the drugs and he had no idea how much he would yield.  “There was no evidence of any drug trafficking paraphernalia.  “He has no intention of cultivating cannabis again. He is not someone who goes out looking to commit offences but he has a drug problem.”

Judge Michael Harington said Wawrzymak, who has been in the UK for six years, was before the court with two offences – the possession and production of cannabis.  He said: “I hope this experience has brought home to you the misconception that this is not a serious offence.  “My view is that the offence is so serious that neither fine nor a community order alone will suffice.  “I am sentencing you to 16 weeks’ prison, suspended for 12 months.”  He also added that he must undertake 100 hours of unpaid community work and pay costs of £250.

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