South Yorkshire drug-user is spared from jail after he was caught growing cannabis plants

A drug-user has narrowly been spared from prison after he was caught with 18 cannabis plants at a property he was renting.

By Jon Cooper
Friday, 18th February 2022, 1:11 am
Updated Friday, 18th February 2022, 1:11 am

Sheffield Crown Court heard on February 16 how Rafal Kuriata, aged 34, was caught by police with 18 cannabis plants at his rented property on Rufford Road, Doncaster, after officers had been investigating a suspected burglary.

Prosecuting barrister Joseph Hudson said a neighbour had reported a suspected burglary at the address and when police attended they found 18 cannabis plants, UV lights, transformers and cultivation equipment in a bedroom.

Recorder Gurdial Singh told Kuriata: “Police attended a report of a burglary - found a grow of 18 plants. You accepted you grew them and it was for your own personal use.

Sheffield Crown Court has heard how a South Yorkshire drug-user who was caught growing 18 cannabis plants at his rented property has been given six months of custody suspended for 12 months with 150 hours of unpaid work. Picture courtesy of Pixabay.

"In my view I do not accept they were for personal use.”

The plants were valued at just short of £1,000 and police found another room covered in plastic and another room had a tent and there was alleged evidence of a previous crop, according to Mr Hudson.

Kuriata who pleaded guilty to producing the class B drug cannabis after the plants were found on February 4, 2021, claimed he had been growing the plants for his personal use.

He said: “It was only for myself. It was a really bad period for me. I had depression because I had been at home a lot of months.

"My shop – because I had a business – was closed and that is why I did it.”

But Recorder Singh said he believed there was a commercial element linked to the cannabis plants and he did not accept they were only for Kuriata’s personal use.

However, Recorder Singh recognised Kuriata’s lack of relevant previous convictions and felt he could impose a suspended prison sentence.

He told Kuriata: "I think the financial circumstances you were in led to it being for more than personal use.”

Recorder Singh added: “You said they were for your personal use. I take the view there was a financial element here.

"Given your guilty plea and lack of previous convictions for this sort of offence any sentence I pass does not have to be an immediate term.”

Recorder Singh sentenced Kuriata to six months of custody suspended for 12 months with 150 hours of unpaid work.

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