Tenant shown mercy after cannabis find


A council tenant caught with cannabis plants worth thousands of pounds in his Motherwell flat has avoided jail.

Piotr-Belina Szczytnicki claimed the plants were being grown by someone he’d rented out a room to.

The 45-year-old Pole admitted producing and being concerned in the supply of cannabis at his home in Grange Tower in May 2012.

Hamilton Sheriff Court heard police seized 22 plants which could have yielded cannabis worth up to £7,000 on the street.

Defence agent Elspeth Forrest said her client has been in Scotland for seven years and hasn’t been in trouble apart from this.

She told the court: “He became aware of this person’s activity, but allowed it to continue.

“After the police attended this tenant disappeared and my client was assaulted by other people following his initial court appearance.”

Mrs Forrest asked Sheriff Marie Smart to impose community service rather than jail, adding: “The accused has a good work ethic - he likes to work.”

Sheriff Smart ordered Szczytnicki to do 250 hours of unpaid work within six months.

She told him through an interpreter: “You have no previous convictions and it appears you were not the prime mover in this offence.

“That was the responsibility of another person although you were aware of what was going on. I can deal with you by imposing a direct alternative to custody.”